Cronulla fullback Michael Gordon has opened up for the first time on the contract saga that almost led to him walking out on the NRL club in May.
Gordon eventually signed with Parramatta on a one-year deal beginning in 2016, but he could’ve already been lining up for the Eels had Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman not scuppered the agreement at the 11th hour.
The messy situation came to a head mid-May when the 31-year-old had reportedly fled the Shire, forcing the club to release a statement explaining that Gordon was given leave.
Gordon denied ever wanting out and explained why he went under a self-imposed media ban during the month-long dispute over his services.
“Once it all come out and it got ugly I just said, ‘I don’t want to know anything about it unless I’m pulling on the boots and playing there’,” he said.
“It wouldn’t look good for me coming out saying anything.
“There was one report I’d walked out on the club – how do you walk away from a club?
“Unless you go for a journey to France or something like that, I don’t know how you actually walk away from a club.
“I found that pretty funny because we had a bye, so we had the week off.”
With the club recruiting Ben Barba over the summer and fast-tracking the development of rising talent Valentine Holmes, the off-contract Gordon was told to look elsewhere for a new deal.
And after a few matches where his game-time was slashed, Gordon reached out to Eels coach Brad Arthur on a potential move to western Sydney before the June 30 deadline.
“I spoke to him a few times and he just told me, `We’re keen to have you and we think you’d fit in well’, giving me the sales pitch,” Gordon said.
“(And) I know the assistant coach over there from back in my Tweed Heads days.
“There was a lot of appealing factors for me to go over there. And obviously we’ve got a lot of outside backs here as well. I knew it was an easy decision to go.
“But in the end, I just let it all unfold. I’m here and I’m happy to be here still.”
Gordon also expressed relief at the re-commitment of Eels recruit Kieran Foran last week.
“I didn’t want to be ringing (Eels recruitment manager) Peter Sharp and say, `Mate, you know I’ve got a backout clause?’ just to get his blood pressure up a bit,” Gordon joked.
“I just thought I’d wait and see what happens. Obviously you’d rather him be going there because he’s a quality player and now that he is, I suppose next year will be good working with him.”