Penrith and Canberra are locked in a battle to prise boom half Ethan Sanders out of Parramatta.

Sanders is regarded as one of the best young playmakers in the game and Sport Confidential understands that he has already spoken to the Panthers and Raiders as they look to add youth and quality to their playmaking ranks.

The Eels are confident they can keep Sanders, although his path to first grade is blocked by a pair of big names on lucrative long-term deals.

Dylan Brown, currently sidelined under the game’s no-fault stand down policy, recently signed a contract that could result in him staying at Parramatta until the end of 2031.

The battle for Eels rookie Ethan Sanders is heating up, with Penrith and Canberra try to prise him out of Parramatta. Picture: NRL Imagery.

Moses also signed a multimillion-dollar extension earlier this year which could see him remain at the club until the end of 2027.

Sanders, named player of the match in the SG Ball final earlier this year, has already been likened to Cooper Cronk and rival clubs are circling with intent.

Penrith’s interest is noteworthy. The club’s current half Nathan Cleary is locked up for the long-term but his halves partner Jarome Luai has one year remaining on his contract and is likely to attract significant interest from elsewhere.

The Panthers’ cap is tight and they may not be able to match any offers. It makes sense to have a contingency plan in place and Sanders may be that man.

As for the Raiders, they are on the lookout for a half capable of filling the Jack Wighton void and forming a combination with Jamal Fogarty.


Sport Confidential understands they have also held talks about former Sydney Roosters half Lachlan Lam, but Sanders shapes as an investment in the future.

Parramatta are well aware of the interest and are doing their best to show Sanders he has a future at the club.


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  • Where's his future with us ?  There is none. If I'm him I'm asking Canberra for 500k and I'm outta here whilst they're desperate to spend money to fill their void. Right now that's his best option.  He could go to Penrith and Luai re-signs and he's no better off. 

    We may end up looking stupid for signing such large and ridiculously long contracts for our halves if this kids any good . 

    • Dylbro's contract is a series of options it's not a hard 10 year contract or anything like that. Even Moses is a 3+2. Trust me the Eels want Sanders and he's already being earmarked as the heir apparent to Moses. Lots can happen in the next few years, for instance Dylbro could go to FB and Sanders to 6. Who knows? But there is absolutely a future for Sanders at the Eels. 

      • Would you like to have your future balancing on whether either bloke will eventually decide to take up their options whilst not being able to as much as start to plan your following season until they do ?  Fark , imagine turning down offer after offer waiting for Moses to make up his mind .  Those options are no good for the club , nor the understudy wanting to know whether they have a gig next year in the NRL or will be spending yet another season waiting for someone to suffer an ACL injury . 

        Let face it , Moses ain't getting a better offer , and Browns not going anywhere unless he's playing better footy and behaving better than he is at the moment.  And if he's playing better footy , what's the odds of us not upping his contract and keeping him around ? Does the guy hang around and knock back lucrative offers in anticipation that these guys will have another club throw even more ridiculous money then they're on in a few years time ? 

        Funnilly Dylbro to FB was the only scenario I could think of that made this work. Otherwise there's not much hope for him having a future at Parramatta . He's what 20 ?  He won't wait until Guthersons 45 when his current deal finishes. 

        • Sanders won't be playing NRL next year. If he's that impatient there's a long list of 'next big thing' halfbacks who rushed to NRL and killed their careers. Let him develop 

        • Sanders is 19. I honestly wonder if DB to fullback when Gutho can't handle it anymore is being floating around the club or if they are set and stone with him being a half. 

          • I want to see this!
            I've been saying it for the last couple of years. Dylan Brown could be an excellent FB if he makes the transition.

            • To become a good fullback you need to be vocal and steer defence. Dylan is more in the Brett Kenny mould as walking to his own tune.

              I agree he has all the attributes, skill set and pace to be a great fullback. Shame Gutho's done 2 ACL's It's stolen his pace.

              • I don't know where the fullback talk with DB is coming from but what your doing by having this thought process is weakening your defensive line  which very few talk about.

                Teams love attacking edges yet a lot round here are talking DB would go good at fullback.

                Not me it's 6 or 7 and I don't care that Ssnders is been thought of in the manner he is.It makes zero sense to me weakening an area that is inconsistent just to fit a player in.

                • It is the common notion that if you are half and can run then you qualify as a Fullback. But how would Brown go under the high ball? What about pressure under the high ball? What about the stamina need to play Fullback? Not like moving from Five-Eighth to Halfback or Five-eighth to Centre, or even Fullback to Five-Eighth is easier to transfer to. Fullback is one of if not the most demanding position in the game physically and mentally.

                  Brown i do not believe has played any Fullback, if he has it was before coming to Parramatta, to expect him to play Fullback in FG is ridiculous, he would need an entire pre-season or two before he is close to ready.

        • So why would he go to Penrith if he wants to play NRL now ?

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