Disgruntled Wests Tigers star Ryan Matterson has met with Parramatta as he explores a possible homecoming to his junior club.
Matterson was given permission to negotiate with other clubs late last month and is expected to turn out in rival colours next year despite having two seasons to run on his current Tigers deal.
NRL.com understands that Matterson met with Eels officials on Tuesday and is also scheduled to fly to the Gold Coast and meet incoming Titans coach Justin Holbrook next week.Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is on holidays and was not present at Tuesday's meeting, but both parties remain open to pursuing a possible move for Matterson back into the Blue and Gold.
The Tigers though have stressed they won't release the rising back-rower unless they also benefit from the deal.
Whether that involves a player swap or financial compensation has been discussed at Concord, but the Tigers hard-line stance looms as a significant hurdle for clubs pursuing the 25-year-old
Both the Eels and Wests Tigers are yet to make an official announcement on the matter.
Retiring Wests Tigers icon Robbie Farah described Matterson's dispute with the club as "beyond the point of return" last week, with the Tigers keen to have Matterson's future sorted before the next rugby league financial year begins on November 1.
Matterson is slated to earn around $350,000 next year under his Tigers deal, but would be able to earn a bigger payday elsewhere given his rise to NSW Origin 18th man honours this year.
Parramatta have identified Matterson as a potential back-row target having already beefed up their forward pack by securing Reagan Campbell-Gillard from Penrith.
Matterson started out as an Eels junior and captained their under 20s team as a halfback, but fell out with Arthur over the coach's push for him to play in the forwards.
The pair have since resolved their differences, though it was Holbrook who proved instrumental in taking Matterson across town to the Roosters in 2016.
Holbrook guided St Helens to his first Super League title last weekend in his farewell to the English powerhouse, and is set to take charge at the Titans in the coming days