NRL: Parramatta Eels to slip under the cap

Eels centre Brad Takairangi celebrates with teammates after scoring a try against the Canberra Raiders. Photo/Getty
Eels centre Brad Takairangi celebrates with teammates after scoring a try against the Canberra Raiders. Photo/Getty

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 at the Eels.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," he added.

The retirement of injury-struck forward Anthony Watmough is key to Parramatta's efforts to fall under the cap. The Eels need to shave $570,000 off their cap and Watmough's salary, said to be around $650,000 a year, would take out a big chunk of that, depending on when his retirement is calculated.

The former State of Origin forward suffered a knee injury in February and hasn't played since.

However it remains to be seen if Watmough's exit is enough to save the Eels. Three-quarter 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.

The fifth-placed Eels face the loss of their 12 points for salary cap breaches outlined by the NRL last week and risk losing any future points they earn if they do not get under the cap prior to the clash with Souths.

An NRL spokesman said the governing body wouldn't comment on Monday's discussions with the Eels until they had received the full submission on their plans to get under the cap. Those submissions could come as early as Tuesday.

Meanwhile, five Parramatta officials are again under NRL suspension after the NSW Supreme Court lifted an injunction order, but the group can still work on the club's response to its salary cap breach notice.

Eels chairman Steve Sharp, chief executive John Boulous, head of football Daniel Anderson, deputy chairman Tom Issa and director Peter Serrao will be limited to basic "fiduciary and statutory obligations" at the club.

The NRL initially suspended the quintet's registrations last Tuesday, indicating it plans to cancel them, when it handed down its provisional sanctions over the Eels salary cap scandal on Friday, before the five men successfully sought an injunction hours later.

The court's decision on Monday has reinstated the suspensions.

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