Parramatta captain Tim Mannah says playmaker Corey Norman is a crucial acquistion for the Eels as they battle to fight their way out of the NRL cellar.

Will Hopoate has taken centre stage as Parramatta’s key off season signing, but captain Tim Mannah says playmaking recruit Corey Norman is another who has the potential to lead the Eels to a new era of success.

Norman looked set to assume Darren Lockyer’s playmaking role at the Broncos following the Queensland great’s retirement, producing a number of stirring performances early in the 2012 season.

But since then his star dimmed somewhat and Norman, who made his NRL debut as a teenager, struggled to hold down a starting spot at the Broncos.

Norman, 22, fell further out of favour with Broncos coach Anthony Griffin when he signed mid-season last year with Parramatta.

The Eels have consistently struggled to spark their attack since the heady days of the 2009 grand final charge, and Mannah said after back-to-back wooden spoons the club has high hopes for Norman.

“Corey is going great and after two weeks here he has already shown what he will mean to our team,” Mannah said.

“He is a great player and a good reader of the game of rugby league and communicator.

“He is part of a nice little squad we have put together here.”

Norman was demoted to the Queensland Cup in an inglorious exit from the Broncos, but Mannah said the 63-game NRL veteran has already shown he has the talent to play first grade.

“To break into a good Broncos team at such a good age shows he has got some talent,” Mannah said.

“I know how things can change in rugby league and when you aren’t hanging around (at a club) you can understand why that happens.

“But we are glad to have him here and I have no doubt he is going to be a great player for us.”