The Parramatta Eels will be docked all the points they have earned in 2016 (12), fined $1 million and will have five directors of the football club de-registered by the NRL.
The Eels will also have to shed players to get under the cap as they are reportedly $500,000 over this year, with Junior Paulo the most likely to join the Raiders after signing a deal with them for 2017 and beyond. Keiran Foran, Michael Jennings and Beau Scott will all most likely stay with the Eels. You would think teams like Canberra, St George and Newcastle will all come calling, cheque book in hand for the inevitable fire sale.
Back to the Eels. The fans are livid/devastated at the news, given the club was having such a successful year on the field. The Eels are sure to challenge the penalty in the courts as will the de-registered directors, including Chairman Steve Sharp.
Denis Fitzgerald is waiting in the wings to make a return to the Eels on an interim basis to run the club for the forseeable future. Fitzgerald is a polarising figure and one who is out of touch with the modern game and should be left in hibernation, not running an NRL club.
The sanctions against the Eels also raise issues about Brad Arthur. Will he stick around knowing that the Eels are playing for virtually nothing, given they would have to win 12 of 15 games to qualify for the finals? If he leaves, will he take any players with him?
What about Foran? Is this enough to force him out of the club and if not, will he play again this season?
If the Eels are forced to shed players, it brings into question the integrity of the NRL again, given the Bulldogs did not have to shed any players back in 2002 when they rorted the cap. The players agreed to a pay cut to get under the cap. Why aren’t the same rules being applied to the Eels? Also, why did the announcement take so long when everyone knew it was coming? If this happened six weeks ago the Eels were only only six points and playing finals foot ball would be a more realistic scenario. Did the NRL hold back to make it harder for the Eels to make the top eight?
More to come…