Parramatta will likely discover on Tuesday if their bright start to the season has been sullied by alleged salary cap breaches, with the NRL set to hand down its findings from a long investigation.
At the centre of the alleged rorting are a number of questionable third-party deals which are reported to have been made without an arm’s length distance from the club.
A number of past and present Eels stars have been implicated in the scandal, including Jarryd Hayne, Anthony Watmough, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow and Semi Radradra.
There is no suggestion that any of the players or their managers have done anything wrong.
How many points the fifth-placed Eels, currently sitting on 12 competition points, lose – if any – from the investigation will likely be announced on Tuesday, however a ballpark figure of between eight and 10 has been widely speculated.
Such a penalty would require the blue-and-golds to win most of their last 15 games given 28 points is what’s been required to make the finals in the past two seasons.
Any such points penalty will make them the fourth team in the history of the NRL to have points deducted for rorting, following on from Canterbury in 2002, the Warriors in 2006 and Melbourne in 2010.
The Eels also face the prospect of being hit with a hefty fine, speculated to be in the vicinity of $500,000.
A number of staffers, including chairman Steve Sharp could also be caught in the crossfire.
And while the expected announcement should bring to a close almost two months of leaks and denials, there is no guarantee the matter will be over with Sharp already suggesting a possible legal challenge.
“We are asking for a fair hearing. For allegations to be tested,” Sharp wrote to members on Sunday.
“That we have the chance to face our accusers. That if there are penalties, then they are appropriate to the alleged breaches.
“That fact has been distilled from fiction. And that all of the smear and speculation which has so dominated the public arena has not been simply accepted.”