Not even $1 million a season can convince Mitchell Moses to re-sign with the Eels – and his reluctance to commit to the club has sparked concerns about what’s going on behind closed doors.
Both Moses and fellow midfielder Dylan Brown are out of contract at the end of 2023, meaning they can now negotiate with rivals for 2024 and beyond.
The Eels are desperate to keep hold of the two playmakers who led the club to its first grand final since 2009, but have several cash-in rivals circling them.
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Moses has been offered an extension worth $1 million a season but has yet to accept it as he considers interest – and more money – from the Bulldogs and Wests Tigers.
That’s according to a veteran News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield, who “doesn’t believe” the Eels will be able to keep their star halves together despite the club’s “fair” offer to Moses.
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Rothfield also expressed concern over Moses’ loyalty to the Eels, with the 28-year-old yet to commit to the club.
“I think Parra can keep both of these boys, but I’m not sure he can,” he said Sky Sports Radio Big Sports Breakfast.
“When is a million dollars not enough for a player who hasn’t won a grand final with his club?
“(Moses is a) very, very good playmaker in the prime of his career at age 28 and he was offered over a million dollars to stay there. But Wests Tigers and Canterbury put in another few hundred thousand dollars a year.
“I would like to see him stay there. I remember the great Parramatta sides, remember Peter Sterling in the 80s? He knocked down a quillion to go after Manly – do you know why? Because he loved Parramatta. He wanted to win titles with Parramatta.
“They all wanted to stay in those great sides and it’s disappointing for me that they look like they’ve lost Mitchell Moses when I think what they’re offering him is a really fair coin, I really am.”
Rothfield also mentioned Cameron Munster – a much more recent example of a player returning big money to stay loyal.
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Munster have been chased by the Dolphins and Wests Tigers, with both reportedly willing to pay $1.3 million a year for the Queensland Origin five-eighth.
But Munster opted to re-sign the Storm on a four-year deal worth $1 million a year.
“We’ve seen some great examples recently, none more so than Cameron Munster – he could have earned $300,000 a year more at Wests Tigers or Dolphins,” Rothfield said.
“But he stayed in Melbourne not only because he was guaranteed probably more success there, but also because of the jersey, the logo and the team.”
“I wonder how much of that exists at Parramatta and why every time they have big name players they pull out of their contracts it’s played out so publicly.”
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“Go back to Andrew Johns at Newcastle – the Wallabies gave him everything they had.” I remember Wayne Bennett at the Broncos offered him massive money but he stayed because of the city and the team, the camaraderie that existed there at Newcastle and the fan base they have.
“Where is it in Parramatta?” He was offered a million bucks and won’t sign.
“He didn’t win the competition. He’s a new father and he has to do his best, but I don’t know.
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“It’s really interesting because Mitchell Moses has been at Parramatta (for) for six or seven years and I think they’re in the window despite losing (Isaiah) Papali’i and (Reed) Mahoney.
“You’re basically throwing away six or seven hard years for those loyal supporters.
However, Rothfield then turned the flame on the Eels, questioning the management of the club’s roster given that their two halves are out of contract at the same time.
“I’m also going to be critical of the Parramatta Eels because I don’t know how you manage the salary cap and you’ve got two gun makers leaving at the same time,” he said.
“Those types of signatures need to be spread out, so when you get to the point where they’re off, you’re not trying to keep two of them.”
“Dylan Brown has had a fantastic season and a great World Cup for New Zealand and the Dolphins are throwing everything at him.
“There are a few other clubs as well but I’m not 100 per cent sure who they are so I’m not going to suggest anything but I just don’t know how well the Eels have handled the situation.”
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