http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/spor...-eels-co-captain/story-e6frexq0-1226583845306 SITTING here, in the Parramatta boardroom, Reni Maitua is candidly unwrapping his recent life before you, searching for the words that explain what becoming captain of his club means to him. Coach Ricky Stuart commissioned psychological profiling to help unearth the men who will lead the Eels this season, but right now Maitua is less concerned about his head and more so his heart. In 2011, Parramatta cast him a lifeline after he'd serving a two-year suspension for testing positive to a banned substance, which Maitua later attributed to recreational substances. He now joins fullback Jarryd Hayne as co-captain on the field, with prop Tim Mannah serving as club captain above them. In a game that celebrates stories of redemption like few others, Maitua's is surely the Mother of All Redemption Stories. "It wasn't until last night that it hit me; when I thought about the last couple of years and where my life was and where it is now," the 30-year-old explains. "It makes me a bit emotional ... There was a turning point in my life about 12 months into the suspension when I thought: How do I want to be remembered? "The previous 12 months was how I was going to be remembered, and that was not the person I was - and certainly not the way I was brought up. "Mum (Lyn) and Dad (Danny) have been the best parents to me, and the way they raised me was nowhere near the person I had become. "I see how happy they are now, and it breaks my heart a little bit. In a good way." Regardless of what the lounge room halfbacks might say about the Eels after their heavy trial loss to the Tigers last weekend, Stuart is acutely aware he is rebuilding Rome from the ground up. He employed leading sports psychologist Jonah Oliver during the off-season to profile each of his players, to ensure he found the right men to lead them. "You don't just pick the person everyone wants," the coach says. "There are a few steps in the process." Despite all the off-season speculation about his possible selection, it wasn't until a fortnight ago that Maitua knew within himself that wanted the job, which has its own strange symmetry because when he was banned he was playing for Cronulla when Stuart was coach. "Not in a million years," Maitua says softly when you ask him if he ever thought he'd captain. "Not any club, no way. People would see it as a risk, given my history, but I'm a different person. "I look at my past now and think: What an idiot! I get a bit annoyed, like a fan, when players get in trouble. When you are in the bubble itself, your ego makes you think you can do whatever you want. Now, everything is in perspective." Mannah has seemingly had that his entire life, his maturity earmarking him as captain of the Eels from his junior days at Guildford, through Australian Schoolboys and the Junior Kangaroos. Stuart sees Mannah and instantly thinks of Peter Wynn, the lanky backrower from the 1980s who is fundamental in keeping the players from the club's glory years glued together. Mannah's leadership was there for all to see only a month ago when his brother Jonny lost his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma at 23. While it crushed everyone around him, it was his Tim who kept everyone together. "That's when I saw Timmy step up," says Stuart. "I saw amazing leadership in Tim Mannah through the toughest time of his life. I saw some extraordinary ability in his character." Says Tim: "Jon wasn't my brother, he was my best mate. We'd played together since we were kids. He was a huge part of my life, so he will definitely be on my mind this season. "But in terms of footy, the leaders I've had - like Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh - taught me to focus on what's happening on the field." In only his 25th year of life, but about to enter is eighth season of first grade, Hayne is realising the true impact of what he does. "I realise now that what I do influences the team," Hayne says. "I've got a lot of experience ... but I'm still figuring it out." As his fellow captains could tell him, it's something that never ends.