IN THE past two weeks the Parramatta Eels' have come to appreciate the relatively new age concept of the the 18th man.
But only once have they been able to utilise it.
In round 18 against Manly, hooker Matt Keating went down in the warm-up with a back complaint.
Johnny-on-the-spot, the 18th man — Nathan Smith — sprang into action and the Eels' maintained their 17-man rotation.
Fast forward to round 19 and Eels' rookie Pat O'Hanlon was the designated 18th man.
The backrower warmed up, stretched and completed the various drills.
At the end of it he walked off and got changed to watch the game.
In the meantime, prop Fuifui Moimoi was collected with a head-high tackle by Sam Kasiano in the opening seconds.
The big man slipped into the contact that could see Kasiano in trouble with the judiciary.
Moimoi — groggy and dazed — left the field and didn't return.
Was O'Hanlon allowed to come on? No.
Under the current laws he is not allowed.
But Eels coach Steve Kearney believes that law needs to be changed after his team was disadvantaged in Friday's 32-12 loss to the Bulldogs.
"I reckon in that situation, it was the first minute of the game, we've got to have an opportunity [to get another player]," Kearney said.
"The 18th man, he warms up with us, so there's got to be an opportunity where we don't get disadvantaged, because we were.
"It's going to take the gas out of you.
"Obviously Fui's one of our real go-forward guys.
"I just think there needs to be something in place so that the side who loses the player for the game is not disadvantaged."