Trent Barrett's concerning admission about Zac Lomax as claims around NRL backflip linger

Lomax signed a deal with Parramatta for next season but there are rumours he may be having second thoughts.

Parramatta's interim coach Trent Barrett has done little to calm the nerves of Eels fans amid growing concerns Zac Lomax could backflip on his deal hinting that it is a real possibility. The 24-year-old announced he will leave the Red V at the end of this season after agreeing to join the Eels, despite playing the best football of his NRL career since shifting to the wing.

After he signed with Parramatta questions were raised about what sparked his decision to request a release from the Dragons, given that he is in career-best form, appears to be enjoying his footy at the club and is taking a significant pay cut to join the Eels. The widespread theory was that he wanted to play centre rather than wing but Shane Flanagan's decision to play him on the flank has sparked an incredible career resurgence and directly resulted in him earning a Blues debut.

Pictured Zac Lomax left and right Trent Barrett
Trent Barrett believes Zac Lomax signed with the Eels under the assumption Brad Arthur was coach and admits he now may not be as sure about joining the club. Image: Getty

Circumstances have changed a lot since Lomax struck an agreement with the Eels in April, most notably with Arthur - the man who convinced Lomax to join - being sacked. Parramatta are also struggling this season, well out of the running for finals and their future is clouded in uncertainty as they are still yet to name Brad Arthur's successor.

On the other hand, the Red V are currently inside the top eight and have a real chance of breaking their finals drought. And there have been more and more rumblings week by week that Lomax could be considering backing out of the deal despite the official cooling-off period ending months ago.

Barrett believes the uncertainty around the club's future could be responsible for Lomax potentially getting cold feet. "I know Zac very well, he needs to know as well," he said.

"He probably did sign here under the assumption Brad was the coach. That's always difficult for individuals when things like this happen. Once it's all out in the open it will be better for everyone.

"I think for everyone, the club and the players (need to know who the coach will be)," he said. "It hasn't really affected the players too much. They are professionals. It's not something you go through regularly, but they do have to go through it.

"Their job is to play well. We haven't quite got the results we wanted over the last few weeks, but they are playing a good style of footy at the moment. We just can't get over the line."

A decision is expected to be made on who will be Parramatta's full-time coach next year following the Eels game against the Rabbitohs on Thursday night. Jason Ryles and Josh Hannay are reportedly the leading contenders.


Lomax has been pivotal to the Dragons' surge up the NRL ladder in 2024 and despite viewing a backflip as highly unlikely, Flanagan has said if it was up to him he'd have Lomax at the club next year. "I’m not filling your papers, Phil,” Flanagan said on NRL 360 on Monday. "We don’t want him to go, without a doubt. But he’s signed a contract with another club.

According to The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis, Lomax won’t make any decision about his contract until after the 2024 Origin series. But Parramatta bosses are said to be very confident that the winger will pull on the blue and gold in 2025.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26:  Zac Lomax of the Blues celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during game two of the men's State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 26, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Zac Lomax has had a breakout 2024.

“I spoke with Jim Sarantinos, the chief executive of Parramatta today. He said he has no doubts Zac Lomax will be at Parramatta next year,” Carayannis said on NRL360 on Wednesday night. "He will be there... they’ve got no consideration of Zac letting go of that contract or releasing him. That conversation hasn’t happened yet.

“If it will happen I’m not sure. What they need to do is appoint a coach and that coach needs to have a heart-to-heart with Zac Lomax.”