Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says Michael Gordon is “struggling” with the contract dramas that have blocked his mid-season NRL move from Cronulla.
Gordon had reportedly walked out on the Sharks earlier this week after being denied a request to shift to the Eels a fortnight ago.
Cronulla have since denied the report and released a statement explaining the 31-year-old was given leave from training to address personal matters.
However, Arthur revealed on Thursday he had spoken to Gordon and was concerned for his well-being.
“I called him a couple of days ago just to make sure he was okay,” Arthur said.
“I just wanted to reassure him that if he can make the move over here, we’re still willing to have him. But my main concern was that he was not in a good headspace.
“He said he’s struggling a little bit. But he’s a pretty strong kid, in the dealings I’ve had with him. I think he’ll be okay.”
The former NSW representative comes off contract with the Sharks at the end of the season, but is unlikely to earn an extension due to the development of Valentine Holmes and the club’s commitment to Ben Barba.
The Eels have tabled a deal for Gordon until the end of 2016, however Arthur insists the club could be forced to look elsewhere for a fullback.
“I think he’s still hopeful. We’re still hopeful. But it’s getting to the stage where, it’s nine days (sic) now until the deadline’s up,” he said.
“If we can’t get anything sorted between now and then, we’ll obviously need to get a fullback moving forward for next year.
“We’ve got a good young kid in Bevan French who’s our future, but he’s still 12 months off.”
Current fullback Reece Robinson will resume kicking duties from Luke Kelly when the Eels battle South Sydney on Friday night.
Kelly missed all three conversion attempts in last week’s golden point loss to the Warriors, but Arthur said the halfback wasn’t to blame.
“I thought Luke did the job that he needed to do for us,” he said.
“We stuck to a kicking plan, stuck to a game plan. Yeah he missed a couple of goalkicks but I don’t think that was the reason why we lost the game. We bombed a few opportunities on our own.
“Reece is our number one kicker, as he was at the start of the year, and he’s had some issues with his quad.
“He’s been doing some work on it and I’ve been told that hopefully he’s all good to go.”