Nathan Peats is the latest player linked to being shaved off Parramatta’s roster as the club continues to search for ways to get under the salary cap by their next NRL match on Friday.
Despite unsuccessful attempts by Eels consultant Ian Schubert to lower the $570,000 breach at the NRL on Monday, the club is likely to need more than Anthony Watmough’s retirement to play for competition points.
Shaving Watmough’s rumoured salary of $450,000 off the books, together with the recently departed Ryan Morgan to Melbourne, means the Eels will need to offload around $250,000 over the next three days.
And the spotlight has now turned to the off-contract Peats, who was reportedly angry at being forced to hand back a sponsored car when the club was fined $525,000 for separate salary cap breaches last year.
The Eels have a host of options at hooker, including Kaysa Pritchard, Cameron King, Cody Nelson and veteran Isaac De Gois, the latter of whom filled in admirably for an injured Peats earlier this season.
Only Pritchard, who represented Samoa in their recent Test win over Tonga, is signed beyond this year.
Making the situation more complicated is that players are already halfway through their pay cycle, which begins on November 1, and any roster jettisons will need a promotion of a player on a $45,000 minimum wage.
The Eels will also need to find a suitable partner willing to take on any player they wish to let go, all of which needs to happen by Friday’s clash against South Sydney for them to accrue points.
“The club’s very confident we can get to where we need to be for this weekend,” Schubert told reporters after meeting with the NRL on Monday.
“We have a bit of homework to do, throw some numbers up in the air and see what happens.
“Most certainly the club will be cap compliant. We’ll have a full capacity on Friday night and we’ll be playing for points.”