Parramatta coach Brad Arthur expects backrower Ryan Matterson to stay at the Eels despite reports that Matterson‘s manager circulated an email last week asking interested clubs to come forward.
The Eels are facing another contract fight as they prepare for their blockbuster against Melbourne on Thursday night after it emerged Matterson’s representatives had contacted rival clubs about the boom forward, who has a player option in his contract next season.
The 26-year-old is only in his second year at the Eels, having departed the Wests Tigers in challenging circumstances at the end of the 2019 season.
Ryan Matterson’s management have contacted rival clubs trying to canvas interest. Picture: Brendon Thorne/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
He is one of several big-name players at the Eels who are off contract at the end of the season, the group headlined by halfback Mitch Moses and NSW backrower Nathan Brown.
Arthur conceded he wasn’t aware of the email from Matterson’s management but was confident the club could secure the rising second-rower on a long-term deal.
“We want Matto to stay,” Arthur said.
“Look, I think he is more than comfortable here in the environment that we’ve put around him.
“He likes the playing group and at the end of the day the players have got to do what is best for them, but I’m sure Matto knows what is best for him is to stay here.
“I’ll probably talk to him about it next week, but I’m sure if he wants to talk to me about it he will, but I’m more than comfortable that Ryan wants to stay at the club.
“We’re happy with the squad we’ve got. It is hard to keep everyone, but that is our goal.”
The Eels need a big game from Ryan Matterson against Melbourne on Thursday night. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Arthur, a former Storm assistant and 20s coach, knows his Eels will have to be at their best to beat the might of Melbourne on Thursday night.
“They have a great system, and they are well coached,” he said.
“Anyone that is going to take Melbourne lightly or doesn’t expect them to be at their best every week is probably watching a different game to me.”
The Eels were slow out of the blocks in their season opener against Brisbane, trailing 14-0 before surging home to win.
Arthur wants his side to be better in the first half against the Storm, especially in the forwards.
“With our start (against Brisbane), it wasn’t a lack of effort,” he said.
“It was more an impatient mentality and we just didn’t build our game and earn the right to play a bit of footy.
“I don’t want to take away the footy from them, but we’ve still got to lay a platform and we didn’t do that.”
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