Eels fight to retain stars


Source Daily Telegraph 

Parramatta’s fight to retain Reed Mahoney has dramatically escalated after it emerged the Brisbane Broncos were weighing up whether to turn the battle for his signature into a south east Queensland bunfight.
Mahoney is off contract at the end of 2022 and it is understood initial talks have taken place between his camp and the Broncos over a return to Queensland.

Mahoney has also been linked with the Dolphins as his management explore his options at the NRL’s newest franchise, which is due to enter the premiership from 2023.

It is unclear whether Mahoney’s camp have also held talks with the Gold Coast, although the Titans’ search for a hooker has been no secret given they have also flagged an interest in Melbourne rake Brandon Smith.

Sources confirmed to News Corp that the Broncos had been approached over Mahoney and discussions had taken place, although they were very much in the embryonic stage.

It is understood Brisbane are yet to formalise their plans for the 2023 season, although hooker Jake Turpin is off contract at the end of next season and like Mahoney, is up for grabs from November 1.

The Broncos have been steadily rebuilding their roster – they have signed South Sydney captain Adam Reynolds and Penrith premiership winner Kurt Capewell for next season – and their interest in Mahoney is likely to hinge on what direction they decide to take with Turpin, who captained Brisbane on occasions this season.

Mahoney has quickly become one of the most coveted players on the open market and the rising interest in him is set to heap more pressure on Parramatta as they attempt to retain a roster that went within a whisker of the preliminary final this season.

Mahoney aside, the Eels are locked in a fight to retain the likes of Clint Gutherson, Isaiah Papali’i, Junior Paulo, Marate Niukore and Maika Sivo, all of whom are free to sign deals with rival clubs from November 1.

Niukore has already spoken to St George Illawarra and the Warriors, and the Eels are facing an intense battle to hold onto the New Zealand back rower.

Prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard has also indicated he will head to market on November 1 as he pursues a deal for the 2023 season, potentially at the Dolphins.

The last thing the Eels need is a scrap for Mahoney, yet that is exactly what they are facing as he contemplates a return to Queensland.

Mahoney was on the verge of State of Origin selection this year when he was named as part of the extended squad for the Maroons, but a shoulder problem cost him any chance of making his Queensland debut.

His season was then brought to a premature end when his shoulder gave way for good only a matter of weeks before the finals.

The Eels soldiered on without Mahoney and they may have to get used to his absence as he opens talks with teams in south east Queensland about a potential homecoming – he was born on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and played his junior rugby league at Kawana and Beerwah before moving to Sydney to play SG Ball for the Bulldogs.

The good news for Parramatta is that if Mahoney decides to return home, there are hooking options off contract at the end of next season.

The Eels are expected to fortify their depth in the position by singing former Gold Coast rake Mitch Rein as backup to Mahoney this season. At the end of 2022, Smith and Penrith hooker Api Koroisau are among the quality hookers up for grabs.

Wade Egan and Blake Brailey are also off contract while the Tigers may have a surplus of No. 9s if Josh Hodgson completes his move to the club. That said, the Eels would be loath to lose Mahoney given the way he has elevated his game over the past 12 months.

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    • It is hyperbole. Do you know another club which has more players off contract than we do? It's the Storm. And no doubt they'll lose Munster (they're probably ok with that) and one of either H. Grant or B. Smith. They've already lost Finucane and Hynes.

      When was the last time we lost a player we wanted to keep? We've built a very solid roster and it's actually a good sign that our players are in demand. 

      You've been very definite in your opinion that most of our players are gone. Our 'eyes are being picked out'. However every club loses players each year. It's natural. They also sign new players. 

      Have some confidence in this team. It will take extraordinary efforts to lure them elsewhere. Yes it may happen in some cases. 16 clubs will lose players to the Dolphins, we're not the only club this will happen to.

      If I was a player agent I'd be holding my ground right now too. This is a player's market. There's 30 more spots available and the same number of NRL experience available. You'd be crazy to agree to terms now before seeing what you could get your client once the Nov 30 deadline passes.
      Parra has a lot to offer for players to stay. If you want to get hammered week in and week out, almost certainly not play finals then there's plenty of clubs you could go to for more coin. Don't panic mate.

  • If there is a max exodus you'd have to think the talk about us being in a failed window are spot on. Sad to think even in a premiership window we are still just "thereabouts" when other clubs (even the tigers 2005) tend to win in their window. Even sader to think we could be looking at a number of difficult years ahead (again).

    • 9713713867?profile=original

    • Players come and players go. The trick is to keep the right core group together 

      The next Papa style bargain buy might not be too far away

  • The biggest winners in the appointment of a 17th club are without a doubt the players. If Dolphins pick up Reed and RCG that means we'll have $1m+ to buy others as is the case with Storm if they lose Munster and so on. 
    Elite players like Cleary, Turbo and co will receive massive offers from cashed up Sydney clubs when they come off contract

    • The NRL souldve brought in two clubs - imagine the greed then?

    • What to consider is with Beni as coach he will only pay what he see's as value.  The money that RCG was on with the eels was low range as the rif paid part money for him above that rate, IIRC there was talk of $350,00 a year, that finishes end of next year and if he heads to Redcliffe he will go well to get $600.00 a year, also I don't see him getting more than 2 years which he would have got here.. I say that as RCG will only get an option for a 3rd year, and a CO, not PO.

      Reed is another matter, he has youth on his side but, has also been somewhat injury prone, I don't see him going elsewhere though as the club would see him as a critical keep and get the money he deserves. Benny will take around 12 players to Redcliffe but will be watching the rosters and value add.  He will also use next year to go around the local comps & evaluate the players, some young players but also some key local players who can fill the experience positions under the imports.


  • JA will do his back in at 9 he is a basket baller. Gutho is king Matt Burton is Button.  Brent Naden may have gone for more money or due to fallout around  last years GF.  Now there's a great player and Eels are a bit clueless if they did not approach him. I would love to see him and Button  back at Panthers one day.  You can't break contract unless both sides agree or a swap.   I think Momo and Laurie were swapped at Tigers. 

  • Who is a clear mind will hang around in a club that has no trophies for 35 years.  We are heading the same fate as Tigers.

  • I will never support a merge not now not ever

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