Watmough feels Eels board will stand down

Now that he’s offered to do his bit, Anthony Watmough is confident Parramatta’s defiant board will also step aside for the Eels’ sake.

Eels chairman Steve Sharp, chief executive John Boulous, head of football Daniel Anderson, deputy chairman Tom Issa and director Peter Serrao have secured a NSW Supreme Court injunction against the NRL’s move to deregister them over the salary-cap scandal.

But while the officials will keep their jobs until at least Friday, when the matter returns to the Supreme Court, NRL boss Todd Greenberg has made it clear the Eels will be unable to play for competition points until all aspects of the breach notice are dealt with, including the removal of the so-called “Gang of Five”.

Watmough, battling a chronic knee injury, has agreed to formalise his retirement in a move that will free up the bulk of the $570,000 Parramatta are alleged to be over the cap in 2016.

“I went to Parra with (intentions of) always trying do the best by Parra and have Parramatta’s best interests at heart – and nothing’s changed in my book,” the former Test star told the Nine Network.

“If we get in that position where we can help Parra and the club and the boys move forward and start playing for points next week, then that’s a no-brainer for me.

“The club is bigger than me.”

The veteran back-rower believes Sharp, Boulous, Anderson, Issa and Serrao will also come to the party for the greater good of the Eels.

“No one’s bigger than the club and I think they’ll do the right thing by the club at the end of the day and do what they have to do,” Watmough said.

Watmough’s retirement papers are believed to have already arrived at rugby league headquarters.

NRL integrity unit chief Nick Weeks will begin investigations into the circumstances surrounding his injury and whether his salary will be backdated – and then removed – from the cap.

“It’s based on the timing of when he became unfit to play permanently,” an NRL spokesperson told AAP.

While it has long been assumed Watmough’s career was already over, having not played at all this year, the former Manly premiership winner struggled on Thursday with the realisation.

“(Rugby league has) definitely passed the body by,” said the 32-year-old, 303-game stalwart.

“We’re selfless people out there at Parra – the playing group is anyway. I can’t speak from outside of that. I’ve done all I can do. I can’t do any more.

“If the ball’s in our court to do the right thing by Parra, then there’s no questions or hesitation.”

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