Parramatta have axed forward Nathan Brown for Saturday's clash with the Roosters, with the Eels also recently informing the lock forward that he doesn't have a long-term future at the club.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told the Herald that Brown will be dropped from Parramatta’s 17 after the team’s dismal showing against arch-rivals Canterbury on Monday. It opens the door for 22-year-old Ky Rodwell to play his second game in the NRL.
The Eels are adamant his axing from the team is purely related to form and has nothing to do with recent discussions about his future.
The Eels informed Brown's management that he wasn't part of their plans. The club have also given Brown formal permission to begin negotiating with rival clubs at his management's request.
While Brown still has 18 months to run on his deal with the Eels, the Herald has been told the club is willing to release him earlier if he managed to land a contract elsewhere.
Brown has told those close to him that he wants to stay at the Eels and wants to win a competition with the team he joined in 2017.
The Wests Tigers have been approached about the potential for Brown to return to his former club.
The Tigers, however, are not in a position to make decisions about recruitment and retention until a head coach is appointed.
The Tigers are holding out hope for Penrith assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo to accept a lucrative five-year offer they are willing to put on the table.
Parramatta have a host of high-profile players on big money, including Clint Gutherson, Junior Paulo and Mitchell Moses. They need to upgrade the contract of boom youngster Will Penisini.
They have also offered Ryan Matterson a four-year deal to keep him at the club with Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins circling for his signature. The Eels have already lost Isaiah Papali'i (Tigers), Reed Mahoney (Bulldogs) and Marata Niukore (Warriors).
The Eels have also opened discussions with Angus Crichton about joining the club next year.
Brown's role at the Eels has diminished in recent weeks. He had been relegated to the bench in his past three games playing an average of 34 minutes per match.