Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has defended Corey Norman in the wake of his NRL ban, saying it won’t affect contract negotiations with the wayward five-eighth.
Norman was effectively rubbed out for the rest of the season when he was suspended for eight games for a string of off-field incidents including his conviction for drug possession.
However Arthur described the 25-year-old as a good person, despite his mistakes, and said they wanted to wrap him up long-term.
“He’s remorseful but the thing is Corey’s a good kid,” Arthur said on Friday.
“He’s made a silly decision and he’ll learn from it but we’re here to support him over the next seven weeks and we want him to be at our club long-term.”
Norman was fined $20,000 and stood down after a string of off-field incidents including being warned by police about consorting with known criminals, appearing in a sex tape he forwarded to teammates as well as making a video in which an elderly man appears to do cocaine.
Norman was in career-best form before his suspension and will not take the field again this season unless the Eels qualify for the finals – an unlikely prospect following their 12-point penalty for salary cap rorting.
Norman’s contract negotiations have stalled, after the five Eels officials at the centre of the salary cap saga were banned and the NSW government this week sacked the club board.
Arthur said the club did not have a problem with the severity of Norman’s punishment and was committed to helping him work through his problems.
“We’re here to promote good footballers but we’re also here to make them better people, that’s our job as a club and my job as a coach,” Arthur said.
“I really like Corey, I’ve got a lot of time for him and he is a good person.
“He’s just made a silly decision.”