Eels’ players, agents next in NRL’s sights

Investigations into the conduct of Parramatta players and their agents will form the next part of the NRL’s probe into salary cap irregularities at the Eels.

NRL integrity unit boss Nick Weeks, alongside CEO Todd Greenberg, handed down the first part of their salary cap investigation into the Eels on Tuesday.

That involved stripping the club of all 12 competitions points earned this season and fining them $1 million. However, there might be more to come, including police action.

“This was the first part of the investigation, there is a piece of work that we still need to do with respect to agents and we will look at the conduct of some players in that as well,” Weeks said.

That continuing investigation will involve the suspicion that players were paid in cash to circumvent salary cap rules.

“Some of the resources the club has used to help fulfil promises it has made to players relates to cash – that is our assessment,” Weeks said.

Weeks said the Eels has been over the cap to the tune of $3 million since 2013, including a figure of $570,000 outside the cap in 2016.

Over the past four seasons, Weeks said a significant number of players had been caught up in those indiscretions.

“There are a number of players over a number of years that have been made promises that were not properly disclosed to the NRL – a large number, not all of them,” Weeks said.

If players or agents are found to have broken NRL rules, they could be deregistered.

Parramatta’s penalty was made all the worse due to the lack of help from the club since they were issued with a breach notice by the NRL.

“It has been pretty disappointing, to be honest,” he said.

“We rely on clubs to provide us with information that is accurate, to provide us with full information and it has been difficult to get that out of Parramatta.

“The rules of the NRL require clubs and officials to tell us when they have suspicions that there has been breaches of the rules – the Parramatta club didn’t do that.

“We have been working with them for a long time, since we breached them last year in July.”

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