Parramatta’s stars have resolved not to let fresh allegations about the club’s salary cap affect what promises to be a bright new era on the field.
The NRL said on Wednesday it will look into a claim that the club board may have “overseen a culture of breaching salary cap rules”.
News Corp reported that board minutes from March 2014 showed they discussed rewarding players’ third-party sponsors with enticements such as free and fully-catered corporate hospitality.
NRL rules state that all third party sponsorships must be at arm’s length from the club.
The report also claimed that a Parramatta official paid former star Jarryd Hayne $39,000 after he’d already left the club to join the San Francisco 49ers NFL club.
Hayne’s manager denied any knowledge of the payments.
The allegations came after the Eels were last month spared the loss of four competitions after completing an internal governance review ordered by the NRL when they were fined $465,000 for salary cap breaches two years ago.
The club has denied any wrongdoing over the latest claims but the NRL will decide for itself.
“The matters raised today will form part of the salary cap review already under way at the Eels,” an NRL spokesman said on Wednesday.
With star recruit Kieran Foran, who promises to be the club’s most important buy in recent times, set to make his first appearance against premiers North Queensland on Saturday, there is a consensus that the blue and gold may be on the way up on the field at last.
While the new drama threatens to create ripples through the club, stars Corey Norman and Nathan Peats promised it would not leak through to their on-field performance and affect what has the potential to be a promising year.
“The only board I worry about is my monopoly board at home to be honest,” hooker Peats said.
“It goes right over our shoulders. We’re worrying about playing the Cowboys.”
When asked if it was frustrating that the club’s governance was under the spotlight once again, Norman said: “I guess so. But we’ve got to worry about us and we’ll let the club fix that up.”