Anthony Watmough is unlikely to be the only Parramatta player to exit the Eels as the NRL club attempts to fit under the salary cap, with at least one other set to leave alongside him.
The Eels need to shave $570,000 off their cap if they are to play for premiership points on Friday night against South Sydney.
The inevitable retirement of injury-struck forward Watmough will help that process, but the Eels are likely to have to jettison at least one more player as part of the deal.
Ryan Morgan has left for Melbourne, but the Eels will need to move two more players into their top 25 at the base rate of $42,500, given half a year of this season’s contract, which begins on November 1, has gone.
However, whether that gives the club sufficient salary cap relief is doubtful, which could mean a relatively high-profile player might have to be moved on.
Regardless, Parramatta consultant Ian Schubert is confident the NRL club will be under the salary cap by Friday and playing for competition points.
Schubert met with NRL salary cap auditor Jamie L’Oste Brown and integrity unit boss Nick Weeks on Monday at Rugby League Central and came away satisfied the Eels will squeeze their way under the cap within four days.
Parramatta meet South Sydney at Pirtek Stadium on Friday in round 10 of the NRL in their first match since the game’s governing body handed down provisional sanctions regarding allegations of salary cap irregularities.
If the Eels are under the cap when they take the field against the Rabbitohs they will be competing for premiership points.
“The club’s very confident we can get to where we need to be for this weekend,” former NRL salary cap auditor Schubert told reporters.
“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.