NRL Transfers: Parramatta greats blast club in wake of Reed Mahoney’s defection to Bulldogs
Two Eels legends have come out swinging over the departure of Reed Mahoney, but perhaps it was the astonished reaction of a modern-day warrior that might prove the most telling of all.
Parramatta legends Ray Price and Mick Cronin have come out swinging over the loss of Reed Mahoney to their old arch rivals, the Bulldogs.
Price slammed the club’s current administration, declaring “they haven’t got a clue” and “are pathetic”.
The premiership-winning captain also reckons the people running the club “wouldn’t know a footballer if he picked his nose”.
Mahoney has taken the money and scooted over to Belmore.
Cronin’s beef related more to the demise of loyalty in a modern game, where “it seems to be all about the dollar”.
It is understood the Eels were blown out of the water by the Bulldogs’ four-year deal worth a reported $2.4 million, compared to the three-year term worth $1.5m that Parramatta put on the table.
Parramatta chairman Sean McElduff came out this week and said it was “absurd” that the Eels had been criticised for low-balling players during negotiations.
But there is just no denying that when push came to shove Canterbury’s new football boss Phil Gould played the Bulldogs’ old rivals off the break to sign the 23-year-old hooker who league legend Cooper Cronk has labelled a future captain.
Mahoney is said to have tossed and turned over the decision on Wednesday night before fronting coach Brad Arthur on Thursday morning.
He was apparently upset that the news then broke publicly before Mahoney got the chance to tell his teammates.
There has been speculation that the decision has also somewhat strained Mahoney’s relationship with his coach.
But his agent Sam Ayoub was adamant Mahoney would not be seeking a release from the final year of his existing contract.
“Of course, like the rest of the squad there, his ambition is to be winning the comp with Parramatta (in 2022),” Ayoub said.
But according to Price, the Eels have really dropped the ball by losing Mahoney on the back of Isaiah Papali’i and Maratha Niukore signing with the Wests Tigers and Warriors respectively.
“What are they doing?” Price fumed.
“He is a quality hooker. He is a very good player.
“But so is Papali’i.
“It can’t go on like this. They need players and they are just letting them go.”
And Price couldn’t hide that he was also fed up that former players from the Eels’ glory years no longer felt welcome at the club.
“There is not much we can do because they just don’t listen to anyone,” he added.
“We are the only team that won something and they couldn’t give a s**t about us.
“The majority of the people that are having anything to do with the club and the side wouldn’t know a footballer if he picked his nose.
“They haven’t got a clue. They are pathetic.”
Cronin, as is his way, did not want to make it personal, but was certainly “disappointed” with the way the game has changed.
In his day Cronin was famous for turning down significantly bigger offers from rival clubs to stay loyal to Parramatta, and he reckons many of his former teammates did the same.
“Blokes like Ella, Kenny, Price and Sterling would all come into that category,” Cronin said.
“They would have all taken unders to stay.
“I am not going to be hypocritical because the club can get rid of you pretty quick.
“But it disappoints me from a game perspective that there is not a lot of loyalty. It is just the modern game.
“All I am saying is that the game has changed. It seems to be all about the dollar.
“That is dead set a good offer and I can’t blame him.
The 23-year-old has one last chance to inspire an Eels premiership run.
“But as I said, it probably shows you to a degree now that it is just about the money.”
Cronk was also baffled that the Eels didn’t do more to keep the rising star, labelling it a “huge blow”.
“I reckon Parramatta would be scratching their heads,” Cronk told Fox Sports.
“He is courageous, he is tough, always putting his body on the line and they are the type of guys you can really form a good core around.”
Cronk also reckons Mahoney shows the character of a future captain: “Take performance out of the equation, I think Reed Mahoney has got a really good temperament, looks like a really good kid and someone you really can help instil a humble, hardworking culture.
“So I would have thought Parramatta would have tried to move heaven and earth to keep him.”