Zac Lomax at centre of huge backflip questions after Parramatta's sacking of Brad Arthur

The Dragons winger is heading to the Eels in 2025 and wanted his future to be tied to the sacked coach.

Parramatta's decision to part ways with Brad Arthur has sparked questions about what it means for Zac Lomax and other incoming recruits. The Eels announced earlier this year that they'd secured the services of Dragons winger Lomax from 2025 onwards, despite the fact he's on more money at St George Illawarra.

Lomax's decision to leave his junior club is still shrouded in mystery, with the general consensus that he wants to play in the centres rather than on the wing. The 24-year-old is in career-best form after being moved to the wing by Shane Flanagan, but has still opted to take what amounts to a $1.6 million pay-cut to join the Eels.

Brad Arthur and Zac Lomax.
Zac Lomax had asked for his future at the Eels to be tied to Brad Arthur. Image: Getty

It later emerged that Lomax had asked for a stipulation in his contract with the Eels that would tie him to Arthur and allow him to get out of the deal if the coach was sacked. Discussing the situation on Tuesday after Arthur was axed on Monday evening, Eels officials said they'd never agree to that and remain confident Lomax won't backflip and ask to stay at the Dragons.

“We will be having a conversation with Zac today,” said chief executive Jim Sarantinos said. “Our focus over the last little while has been having a conversation with the players in the building. We will be having a conversation with Zac. None of our players have any clause like that in their contract. That’s not the way we operate.”

Zac Lomax, pictured here in action for the Dragons in the NRL.
Zac Lomax in action for the Dragons.

Speaking earlier this month, Lomax said he wouldn't reveal the real reason he wants out of the Dragons until the end of the season. “I’m more than comfortable to talk about it but for the meantime I feel it would be a little bit disrespectful on my behalf to be talking about what’s going to happen next year," he said.

“My focus for me and my teammates at the moment is giving my best for the Dragons, for the club itself and my teammates. I’d like for you guys to feel my performances on the weekend are showing that. My focus is here at the Dragons and being the best teammate I can. I feel I’m playing football my teammates are happy with and the club’s happy with and I’m happy with.”


In regards to shifting to the wing, Lomax added: "My teammates know that I'm a guy that will do what's best for the team. I feel I've done that. I'd like to hope that you guys can see I've proven that and been able to do that on a weekly basis. I feel we've started the season well and there's a few games we could have performed better in patches. I'm positive and looking forward."

Meanwhile, the Eels confirmed on Tuesday that they approached Wayne Bennett to replace Arthur but he had already committed to South Sydney. Bennett announced on Tuesday that he'll join the Rabbitohs next season on a three-year deal after he coached the club from 2019 to 2021.

"We wanted Wayne Bennett, it's as simple as that, and we spent the best part of three weeks trying to convince him to come," Eels chairman Sean McElduff said. "Ultimately he made it clear to us that he had unfinished business at the Rabbitohs and that was the direction he was heading.

"He was interested, we put our proposition to him and he was genuinely interested, but I think he felt strongly with his connection to the Rabbitohs. We didn't make a decision on our head coach until May 1 and we didn't approach Wayne until May 2."

with agencies