Parramatta Eels star spotted in secret meeting with rival NRL club

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Reed Mahoney, pictured here dining with Canterbury Bulldogs officials.
Reed Mahoney was spotted dining with Canterbury Bulldogs officials. Image: Superman2144/Twitter

Parramatta hooker Reed Mahoney has been spotted meeting with Canterbury Bulldogs officials in what some believe is a sign he will leave the Eels.

Footage was posted on social media on Tuesday night showing Mahoney dining at a restaurant with Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett, general manager Phil Gould and chairman John Khoury.

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The footage was reportedly taken at the Dynasty restaurant inside Canterbury Leagues Club on Tuesday evening.

Mahoney is committed to the Eels for the 2022 season but free to speak to rival clubs about the 2023 season and beyond.

The 23-year-old was joined by manager Sam Ayoub in the five-second video.

The Daily Telegraph is also reporting that Mahoney was given a tour of the Bulldogs facilities on Tuesday.

“Reed Mahoney met with the Canterbury Bulldogs attempting to do a deal over the Lazy Susan,” veteran reporter David Riccio told SEN Radio on Wednesday.

“I’ve still got Parramatta just in front at this stage, I think his preference is to do a deal with the Eels.

“I believe the Eels are confident he’ll re-sign, this is merely a process of assessing his worth and his value and it might just drive his Parramatta price up.

“But there is no denying whatsoever how hungry and eager the Canterbury Bulldogs are to nail a top draw hooker.

“This is a problem area for the club and Reed Mahoney fits that bill.

Brandon Smith was originally on their radar, and I think he still is, but I don’t think they’ll get to Brandon Smith money.

“This is why they’re in discussions with Reed Mahoney, as I’ve said this is a real target area for the Bulldogs.”

Parramatta lashes out over signing speculation

Along with Mahoney, Eels captain Clint Gutherson, 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 last week, 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."

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

Reed Mahoney, pictured here in action for the Parramatta Eels.
Reed Mahoney in action for the Parramatta Eels. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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.

But it is the contract of Gutherson that 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."

In a big boost for the Eels, the club agreed to terms with prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard until the end of 2025, while confirming Michael Ennis and Paul McGregor have joined as coaching consultants to Brad Arthur.

with AAP

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