Finch set to spread wings Andrew Webster and Brad Walter | April 14, 2008 PARRAMATTA playmaker Brett Finch will open negotiations with rival NRL clubs by the end of the week, with the Eels yet to make an offer to keep him beyond this season. Until now, Finch has refused to speak with interested clubs because of his preference to remain under coach Michael Hagan at Parramatta. But the chances of him staying are fast evaporating, with Eels football manager Andrew Hill confirming last night that the 25-year-old should not expect an offer this week. "We can't afford to wait any longer," said Finch's manager, Steve Gillis, when told of Hill's remarks. "We have made a concerted effort to negotiate first and foremost with Parramatta, and we haven't spoken to any clubs who have approached Brett for that reason. "We would expect to see an offer within a fortnight - but we are going to have to start talking to other clubs by the end of the week. Time's running out." Parramatta are struggling to find enough room under their salary cap for Finch, who was the players' player in the Eels' loss to the Gold Coast on Friday night and one of the favourites to play halfback for NSW in the State of Origin series. He could command as much as $350,000 per season on the open market because of the dearth of off-contract playmakers. One solution is releasing hooker Mark Riddell from the final year of his contract so he can play in the UK Super League after this season. Riddell has already had discussions with Wigan, while Celtic Crusaders, who are hopeful of inclusion in next year's Super League, have expressed an interest. But with no firm offer on the table, Riddell hasn't asked Parramatta for a release. "It's a matter of what Brett wants to do. It's up to him whether he stays," Hill said. "There's no doubt that there is going to be interest in him from other clubs. If there's an offer too good to refuse and he wants to take it, that's his decision. A few things have to happen before we can put an offer on the table." Gillis refused to disclose which NRL clubs are interested in Finch, although it is understood Manly are not one of them - despite their desperate need for a five-eighth to partner Matt Orford. The Sea Eagles are also expected to sign Roosters lock Anthony Tupou to a $1.62 million deal, possibly as soon as this week. The Bulldogs have room to move under their salary cap and are believed to be eyeing other halfbacks, with Daniel Holdsworth out of favour with some at the club because of a belief he doesn't run the ball frequently enough. The Panthers are also on the lookout for a playmaker after missing out on Raiders halfback Todd Carney. Whether the Dragons pursue Finch will depend on whether international centre Matt Cooper decides to stay and play under Wayne Bennett next season. The Dragons' hopes of retaining Cooper are likely to depend on talks this week with Bennett. Cooper, who is considering lucrative offers from the Bulldogs and Wigan, is building a house in Wollongong and recently opened a cafe at Dapto with teammate Simon Woolford. With Bennett last week meeting Dragons recruitment manager Craig Young for the first time since being appointed, Cooper said discussions about his role under the six-times premiership mentor would help decide his future. "I'm going to have to have a chat to him before I make any decision - it's something I'm going to have to do in the next few days." Cooper told AAP. "Hopefully it works out and I get to stay. I'd love to stay, I'm comfortable here." After finally confirming the promotion of assistant coach Kevin Moore to the top job at a press conference today, the Bulldogs will begin focusing on signing new players, with Cooper and Storm prop Jeff Lima heading their list of targets. Should Cooper leave, the Dragons seem to have a readymade replacement in 18-year-old Arncliffe junior Dean Whare, who scored three tries in the NYC team's 20-18 win over North Queensland on Saturday.