Parramatta say they have no fears of Corey Norman slipping through their net in the wake of Jarryd Hayne’s defection to Gold Coast.
Hayne signed a two-year NRL deal reportedly worth $2.4 million with the Titans and cited backroom uncertainty resulting from the salary cap scandal as a key factor, although the Eels insisted they simply couldn’t match that sort of money.
Coach Brad Arthur says there is no chance of the club’s administrative upheaval spoiling talks with off-contract playmaking star Norman and he expects him to remain next year.
“Corey’s committed to the club, we’re committed to Corey,” Arthur said on Thursday.
“We need to get some clarity around the salary cap.
“But at the end of the day our offer (to Hayne) couldn’t cut it with Gold Coast – it’s simple. “I don’t have a problem with it. Jarryd’s a big boy and he’s got to do what’s best for him and I’ve got to do what’s best for the team.”
The Eels’ offer to Hayne eventually fell short of what he had been offered by the Titans by $500,000 per season.
Parramatta’s interim administrator Max Donnelly and Arthur refused to up their offer for fear of having to offload players and upsetting team harmony.
With the likes of superstar winger Semi Radradra, Clint Gutherson, Manu Ma’u, Tepai Moeroa and Brad Takairangi – all of whom Arthur described as priority signings – off contract at the end of 2017, it left the club with little wiggle room.
“They’re important to me, they’re important to this club and there was no way in the world I was going to run the risk of losing those guys,” Arthur said.
Arthur said the club was possibly in the market for a specialist halfback with veteran Jeff Robson mulling over retirement plans.