Parramatta legend Peter Sterling believes his former club can still make the NRL finals despite being stripped of 12 competition points for salary cap breaches.
The Eels were on Tuesday slapped with a breach notice reducing them to zero competition points, and they will only be permitted to accumulate points once they bring their roster under the cap.
It means the team will need to win at least 12 of their remaining 15 matches to finish in the top eight, however Sterling doesn’t believe their season is over.
“This is a side that is capable. They’ve got such quality and depth there and such motivation now,” Sterling told the Nine Network.
“That’s the ray of sunshine this morning that has been a dark day and a dark couple of months.”
The sanction virtually eradicated Parramatta’s best start to a season since 2001, which had them sitting fifth after nine rounds with six wins.
Combined with the wins they already recorded, they will now have to win at least 18 games this year for just the fifth time in the club’s history to make the finals.
And while it is possible they may shed some talent in an effort to fall under the cap, Sterling believes their off-season acquisitions may yet help the Eels secure a finals berth.
“They’re a top-four side, there’s no doubt about that. Recruited extremely well and that’s been demonstrated in their performances this year,” Sterling said.
Chairman Steve Sharp, chief executive John Boulos, head of football Daniel Anderson, deputy chairman Tom Issa and director Peter Serraro also face having their contracts deregistered by the NRL.
Sterling said he would not be a part of the process of rebuilding the club’s front office.
“I don’t have the expertise,” he said.
“I can help out in how the halfback might be able to do something with the five-eighth and the centre, but when it comes to that, it’s out of my realm.”