The Parramatta Eels have four openings for players in 2018, but seem unconcerned for the moment. Of bigger import is the entire question of whether or not there will be a 2018 season, given the state of the negotiations between the NRL and the RLPA, where a new collective bargaining agreement has yet to be reached.
No one seems especially worried. Following the Grand Final on Sunday, October 1 at ANZ Stadium, there will be plenty of time to sort things out before the 2018 season launches next autumn. Things will not begin to get interesting until the latter part of February at the earliest.
Still, the Eels do not want to cool their heels too long, as worthy candidates could potentially slip beyond their grasp, so they have been looking far and wide, simultaneously trying to poach from one of the other NRL sides, along with raiding overseas and rival codes.
The biggest gap that needs plugging is that created by the uncertainty of Semi Radradra. They were looking at Marika Koroibete of the Super Rugby Melbourne Rebels, who has also played for Australia’s national rugby union team, but the price tag for the Fijian winger might exceed the Eels’ budget and they abandoned that pursuit.
Koroibete is heading, where else, to France where the euros flow like wine and the wine flows like water for those with the proper credentials and skill set. The rival French code is currently playing and their season lasts until May. Radradra may be back, he may not be back: that is the question.
Radradra’s season with the Eels is finished, courtesy of the loss finals loss to the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday past.
The economising Eels might instead promote from within, as they have a cadre of talented youngsters who seemingly are deserving of an opportunity to play with the club’s seniors.
The Eels top priority will be at forward. They will get Kane Evans from the Chooks, but they need to find another middle, but beyond that, the Eels’ roster will change little for 2018.