Parramatta players expect to have captain Kieran Foran back for good after the NRL star opted not to return to Brisbane for more treatment for personal issues.
Foran was expected to go back to Brisbane on Tuesday after returning from two weeks leave to take his spot with the Eels in last week’s loss to Melbourne.
But the troubled halfback remained with the squad in Sydney and is preparing to take on Newcastle on Monday.
Eels winger Clinton Gutherson believes Foran is back for good.
“That’s the plan. We’re hoping so, for our sake and the team’s sake. We’re planning as he is,” Gutherson said on Friday.
“He seemed fine. He was just joking around with the boys again. I’m sure it’ll take him a bit of time to get back to the full swing of things, but at the moment we’re just backing him.”
Foran is also battling a shoulder issue he picked up against the Storm.
Gutherson predicted Foran to back up against the Knights.
“By the looks of it, he looks all right. He’s been on the physio table all day, so I’m sure he’ll be playing Monday and we’re hoping that he is. We’re playing like he is,” he said.
“He was running the ball, he was passing the ball. He hurt his shoulder early in the game which hampered his return, but he was fine. You’d want him 50-50 out there anyway, the player he is.”
Halves partner Corey Norman is also set to continue playing despite being charged with possession of a prohibited drug and a prescribed restricted substance.
One player the Eels could lose is prop Junior Paulo, who is understood to be closing in on a mid-season move to Canberra six months before starting his three-year deal with the club.
Paulo had been issued with a warning from NSW police on Wednesday for consorting with convicted criminals on the same night Norman was busted carrying drugs.
Teammate Tepai Moeroa said he would back any move Paulo had to make.
“If he does get a release, then it’d be the best decision for him and his family. With everything that’s going on, if he does make that decision then we’ll support him 100 per cent,” he said.
The Eels have to win 12 of their remaining 13 games to make the finals.