Pressure is mounting on Parramatta management as allegations of salary cap impropriety continue to stack up.
On a day when several current and former Eels stars were dragged into the investigation about dubious third-party agreements, it was again left to players to face the media while chief executive John Boulous, chairman Steve Sharp and the board continued to remain silent.
Skipper Kieran Foran questioned why Eels’ management had not yet fronted up to face media questions about deals which allegedly flouted NRL rules requiring all players’ third-party deals to be at arm’s length from the club.
Instead, it was left to Foran, Daniel Alvaro and Danny Wicks to answer questions from reporters with all three pleading ignorance about the saga, insisting coach Brad Arthur had quarantined the playing group from the drama.
The Seven Network is reporting former Parramatta chief executive Scott Seward had appeared before the integrity unit on Wednesday as part of the probe.
As well as being threatened with the loss of competition points, the Eels’ management are also in the firing line should the allegations be proven.
When asked if the club’s leadership should be facing questions, Foran said: “Maybe, but again, it’s not a big issue for us – we know nothing about it. We don’t know what’s being said or going on.
“We just get up and say the same thing every week. But that may be the case.”
The club released a statement earlier on Wednesday saying it was worried media reporting was damaging the integrity unit’s investigation of the matter.
Former Eels back Will Hopoate said he had no knowledge of salary cap cheating while he was at the club and indicated it was unlikely the players would have had any understanding of the matter.
“That’s none of my business,” Canterbury fullback Hopoate said.
“I play footy and allow my manager to deal with all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
“That’s why they are there. They sort that out with the club. I don’t know all the legal things that happen.
“We just pick the option that is presented in front of us and what suits us.”
The NRL has uncovered documents from mid-2013 which include details of more than $140,000 in payments owed to Hopoate, Chris Sandow, Reni Maitua, Willie Tonga, Justin Hunt and Cheyse Blair, according to News Corp Australia.
Money owed to Corey Norman, hooker Nathan Peats and departed English prop Lee Mossop, who all joined for the start of the 2014 campaign, was also detailed.
There’s no suggestion any of the players have done anything wrong.