The NRL could step in and force Parramatta to shed players if they are unable to get under the salary cap in three weeks.
The Eels have just two days to shave the required $570,000 from their books before Friday’s clash with South Sydney if they’re to play for competition points and keep their season alive.
However the Eels also have another deadline – on June 3 – to respond to the original breach notices handed down by the governing body for alleged salary cap rorts last week.
And if they aren’t cap compliant by then, the NRL could look at offloading players for them.
“They can play until the final determination is made in early June. That’s when we can make some steps,” an NRL spokesperson told AAP.
That could include forcing Eels players to move on, however league central is confident it won’t get to that.
While the retirement of Anthony Watmough is expected to be medically approved as a career-ending injury,the club is still frantically searching for a willing team to take on hooker Nathan Peats.
South Sydney ruled themselves out of the running on Wednesday, while Gold Coast have previously said they wouldn’t be rushed into spending their cap space.
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire shut down talks linking Peats on a return to his former club.
“We have two good dummy halves in Cam McInnes and Damien Cook, I am happy with those boys,” he said.
“Peatsy is a good kid, I obviously have had a bit of time with him over the last few years when he was here. It is tough to see him go through what he is going through.
“But I’m sure he will get picked up and, knowing Peatsy, I am sure he will come out of it.”
Peats’ father Geordi, who played for Canterbury and South Sydney, earlier slammed the conduct of Eels officials Steve Sharp, Tom Issa, Peter Serrao, John Boulous and Daniel Anderson.
The quintet have been provisionally suspended by the NRL over the Eels alleged salary cap rorts.
“You have five f***wits on the board who can’t add up and it bites a player on the arse when it’s not his fault,” Geordi Peats told Fairfax Media.
“They reckon they’ve got nothing to answer for, they are pathetic.”
Peats said the players were the ones who ultimately suffered for the board’s mistakes, adding his son was a “pawn in the big game”.
“(Nathan) is shattered, he’s filthy. He’s not happy, he can’t believe it. They go and buy Kieran Foran and built well this year but obviously they didn’t have the money to do it,” he said.
“They told him yesterday they can’t give him a contract for next year because they stuffed up (2017) as well. They don’t know what they’re doing.”