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Transfer news, rumours, contracts, deals, Damien Cook, Rabbitohs, Nathan Brown dropped, future, early release, Parramatta Eels, Wests Tigers

The Rabbitohs made the tough call to let Adam Reynolds go and invest in the future, putting their trust in young playmaker Lachlan Ilias.

That decision continues to be debated amid South Sydney’s struggles this season and now the Rabbitohs could face a similar dilemma as they look to extend hooker Damien Cook.

Speaking on Triple-M on Thursday night, The Australian’s Brent Read revealed that South Sydney will sit down with Cook next week to talk about his future at the club.

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The Rabbitohs want to keep Cook and the NSW Blues hooker also wants to stay put but it will be a tricky balancing act amid the emergence of young gun Peter Mamouzelos.

“What makes it really interesting is they’ve got a young kid Peter Mamouzelos who has got huge raps on him at hooker,” Read said.

“He came through with Lachlan Ilias and Blake Taaffe. I suppose Souths have to juggle Cook’s long-term future with not stopping Mamouzelos and his development.”

Cook has one year left on his deal while Mamouzelos is contracted until the end of the 2024 season.

But should the Rabbitohs extend Cook, it will only further restrict Mamouzelos’ opportunities in first grade and could prompt the 21-year-old to look elsewhere.

“Souths want to keep him [Cook] so they will start those negotiations next week but it will be interesting to see how it plays out,” Read added.

“Obviously with Souths you saw what happened with Adam Reynolds. They didn’t want to block Lachlan Ilias’ path and Cook is sort of in a similar position. It’ll be intriguing to see how that one plays out.”

The Rabbitohs face a tricky juggling act when it comes to the future of Damien Cook. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

BROWN SET FOR EELS EXIT AS RIVALS CIRCLE

The Eels have given former Blues Origin representative Nathan Brown permission to negotiate with NRL rivals about an immediate release after dropping him for their clash with the Roosters.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Brown is set to be dropped following the Eels’ embarrassing loss to the Bulldogs and the club has informed him he is not part of their future plans.

Brown’s management recently attempted to negotiate an extension for their client, whose contract at Parramatta comes to an end in 2023.

However, the club denied the extension request and gave Brown permission to negotiate with rivals at his management’s instruction.

The Herald revealed the Eels are open to bringing Brown’s tenure at the club to an end with 18 months still remaining on his contract if he can strike a deal elsewhere for the remainder of 2022.

Privately Brown reportedly wants to stay at the Eels and win a premiership with the club he has played the majority of his career at over six seasons.

The Tigers, who Brown made his NRL debut at playing one game in 2013 have reportedly been approached about securing Brown’s services.

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Nathan Brown has fallen out of favor at the Eels.Source: Supplied

However, the Tigers have introduced a development mandate at the club and are reluctant to make too many contract moves until Tim Sheens appoints a new head coach after Michael Maguire’s axing.

Parramatta’s decision on Brown is an indication they face salary cap pressures with Clint Gutherson, Junior Paulo and Mitchell Moses on big money deals, while halves Dylan Brown and Moses need to be re-signed beyond 2023 on increased deals.

Young gun center Will Penisini is also due for a contract upgrade beyond 2023, while the Eels have 16 players who remain unsigned beyond next season.

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The Eels have also offered Ryan Matterson a four-year extension to stay at the club as the Dolphins circle the Origin star, which is an indication Brown has fallen down the pecking order behind Matterson.

Parramatta are also trying to lure former Blues star Angus Crichton from the Roosters as the Tri-colours face salary cap pressure to retain the back-rower.

It is a stunning fall from favor for Brown, who represented NSW in two Origin games in 2020 and has played 107 of his 136 NRL games for the Eels since arriving at the club from Souths in 2017.

Brown went from a lock in the No.13 jersey over the last few seasons to find himself demoted to a bench role at times this year as he hit a form slump.

The 29-year-old has found himself benched for the last three games, playing just 34 minutes in an indication he is no longer a key cog in the Eels’ starting pack.

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