The Parramatta Eels are in no mood to give up on Ryan Matterson, with the club reportedly tabling a $2.5 million contract offer for the Origin debutant to keep him from the Dolphins.
Matterson’s 2022 season form has seen him brought in by Brad Fittler and the Blues, but also chased by supercoach Wayne Bennett, who wants to take him to Redcliffe next season.
After meeting with Bennett in Queensland, it appeared Matterson was edging towards a Dolphins move, but the Eels, who will be losing a number of stars after the season, want to hold onto him.
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According to News Corp, the Eels have offered a four-year, $2.5 million deal with the hope of keeping Matterson as they chase a title in the coming years.
“We have put a good competitive offer for four years to him and we would love him to stay,” Eels coach Brad Arthur told News Corp.
“He is a local junior – came through our system – and been back now for a couple of years and playing his best footy.
“He is a real integral part of us moving forward. We would love him to stay.”
Arthur added: “I feel like his preference is to stay in Sydney, stay at Parramatta around his family but I am not sure what the Redcliffe offer is.”
The Eels can’t afford to lose another star, and the Dolphins are desperate, meaning Matterson’s value can only go up.
“He might come out and blow them apart in Origin, and he might be worth more than what he’s asking for at the moment,” Laurie Daley said on Big Sports Breakfast.
“The way he’s playing, he’s getting better as the season goes on. So, he’s in a good position.”
FOUR CLUBS CHASE HETHERINGTON
Four clubs are reportedly in pursuit of Bulldogs enforcer Jack Hetherington, who has been told he is free to negotiate with rival teams.
The 25-year-old is set to be one of the players who move away from Belmore following the departure of Trent Barrett, following Brent Naden away from the struggling club.
Hetherington is contracted until the end of the 2023 season, but has a mutual option for the final year meaning he can walk away.
Now, according to The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio, four clubs are looking to sign the backrower.
“This guy is fast becoming a wanted man, mainly because of the way he plays the game, he is Jack Hetherington,” Riccio said in Triple M.
“The Bulldogs forward is off-contract and has been told he can negotiate with rival clubs, the Dragons are certainly circling.
“There are three other clubs, the Newcastle Knights, the Wests Tigers and the Canberra Raiders, now Jack’s father played for the Raiders, Brett Hetherington, so there is lineage there.
“Given Adam Elliott is off to the Newcastle Knights, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders come hard.”
ANOTHER BRONCOS RELEASE REQUEST
Broncos hooker Jake Turpin has requested a release from the club after falling down the pecking order.
Cory Peace and Billy Walters have pushed the experienced rake out of the team and his request is set to be granted according to 9News’ Ben Dobbin.
Multiple teams are reportedly chasing Turpin’s signature, with the Newcastle Knights being potential landing spot.
Turpin has been a one-club man so far in his five-year NRL career and would be a handy pick-up with a general shortage of quality No.9 options around the league.
“The Broncos can confirm that Jake Turpin has been granted permission to negotiate with other clubs,” the club released in a statement.
“Jake approached the club wishing to explore his options elsewhere and the Broncos have granted that request.
“He is currently contracted to the Broncos until the end of the 2022 season.”
DOG LEAVES THE KENNEL
Bulldogs utility Jeremy Marshall-King is set to join Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins in 2023, rejecting an opportunity to stay on with the Bulldogs.
Marshall-King had an option to extend his tenure at the Bulldogs, but decided to play his trade for the NRL’s newest franchise.
According to News Corp, the 26-year-old’s deal is reportedly worth $200,000 a season.
At the Bulldogs in 2023, Marshall-King would lose his starting spot to recruit Reed Mahoney, prompting him to seek first-grade football elsewhere.
The rake could be a crucial signing for the Dolphins, who have been unable to secure the services of a No.9 so far.
Wayne Bennett has coached a member of the Marshall family in the past.
Brother Benji Marshall played under Bennett at the Broncos, Rabbitohs and New Zealand national team in 2008, as the Kiwi side won their first World Cup.
FORMER EELS BAD BOY EYES RETURN
Former Parramatta forward Kenny Edwards is eyeing a return to his old club, but the move is reportedly creating division within Eels.
Brad Arthur will lose a string of key player to rival clubs in 2023 with Isaiah Papali’i heading to the Tigers, Marata Niukore to the Warriors, Reed Mahoney to the Bulldogs and Ray Stone to the Dolphins.
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Wide World of Sports reports that the playing and coaching group are supportive of bringing the 32-year-old back to help bolster the forward pack.
There are sections of the club’s management, however, who are wary given Edwards’ checkered past.
In 2017 he was suspended for the first seven games of the season and slapped with a $60,000 fine after pleading guilty to domestic violence-related charges.
In 2018 he was stood down indefinitely by the Eels after allegedly fleeing from police following a random roadside breath test. The club would eventually release him later that year.
In 2021 he was banned for 10 matches for putting his finger up an opponent’s bottom while playing for Huddersfield in the Super League.
According to the report, those close to Edwards says he has matured and is ready for another crack at the NRL.
Edwards who is currently on loan with the Castleford Tigers has been offered a deal with the club, however the New Zealand born product has his sights set on a return to Australia.
PANTHERS FORWARD BACKFLIPS ON COWBOYS
Up and coming Panthers forward J’maine Hopgood reportedly backflipped on the North Queensland Cowboys after the 23-year-old was set to join the Townsville outfit in 2023.
According to Wide World of Sports, the Cowboys believed they had a handshake agreement only for Hopgood to sign a two-year deal with the Parramatta Eels.
Hopgood has been overshadowed by the sheer depth of forwards at the Panthers and will use his two years at the Eels to showcase his talent.
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