RCG re-signs as Eels lash media frenzy

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Parramatta have hit out at criticism of their contract negotiations on the same day they announced a new deal for Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

The ex-NSW State of Origin prop agreed to terms until the end of 2025, with the club also confirming Michael Ennis and Paul McGregor have joined as coaching consultants to Brad Arthur.

McGregor has been out of work since being sacked as St George Illawarra's head coach in 2020, while Ennis has been working in a similar role at Canberra over the past three seasons.

"Reagan has connected well with everyone at our club, is a vital member of our squad and adds a level of aggression needed to compete at the NRL level," said Eels football manager Mark O'Neill.

"He is one of the best front-rowers in the NRL and loves playing in the big games."

It comes on a busy day for the Eels, who made moves to quell the media attention which has surrounded the club for the past week.

Captain Clint Gutherson, hooker Reed Mahoney, prop Junior Paulo and the back-row trio of Isaiah Papali'i, Marata Niukore and Ryan Matterson were all free to speak to rival clubs from Monday.

All six have yet to re-sign with the club, leaving supporters nervous and inviting criticism of their handling of the negotiations.

The club responded forcefully on Friday, releasing a statement which said: "The media has a job to do in reporting player movements, which we respect as we understand the public interest in our players.

"Our approach is not to engage publicly in speculation regarding player negotiations.

"It is disrespectful to the players involved, is unhelpful in building a team that is set up for success and, most importantly, goes against how we aim to operate as a club."

The Eels' decision to leave six of their most high-profile players unsigned could prove costly with the NRL's salary cap likely to mean they face a fight to retain their best talent.

Paulo is a NSW Origin prop who will command big offers, while Mahoney is on the hit list of the NRL's 17th team, the Dolphins.

Papali'i has reportedly turned down the club's initial offer and will opt to test the market as Niukore continues to be linked with a move to the Warriors and Dragons.

It is the contract of captain Gutherson, though, which is the most delicate given how protracted his last negotiations were in 2019.

The fullback eventually re-signed with the club but each and every turn of the talks made their way into the public domain.

The Eels ended by saying that they were optimistic that talks would reach a positive conclusion.

"To date, our discussions with players and their managers have been robust, professional and constructive," the club added.

"These discussions are ongoing and we look forward to updating you shortly with some exciting news on our roster for 2022, 2023 and beyond."

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