The Parramatta Eels have held a conversation with skipper Clint Gutherson to inform him they will hit the market for a potential fullback option for this season.
The Herald can reveal the Eels have been hitting the phones over the past week to find what they are describing as a “game-breaker” to join the club immediately.
Club powerbrokers have spoken to Gutherson to inform him of their pursuit. Gutherson has given the club his blessing to do what it takes to help the club go one better than last year’s grand final loss to Penrith.
The Eels declined to comment when contacted by the Herald on Sunday afternoon. The club did, though, deny that the potential recruit will force the skipper out of the No.1 jersey.
The club is adamant the recruitment target, which is still a work in progress, is being sought to provide the club with an X-factor option. That option could be a fullback who comes off the bench and shifts Gutherson around the backline at different stages of the contest.
Sources with knowledge of discussions speaking under the condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of negotiations said the Eels have significant salary cap space to attract a player of quality this year.
The quality of that player will determine the impact it has on the make-up of the starting team. The Herald understands the position of Waqa Blake, who is off contract at the end of this season, is under a cloud.
Gutherson, who has played State of Origin for NSW in the centres, could provide the Eels with an option on the right side of the field in a roving role similar to that of the Sydney Roosters’ Joseph Manu.
At the end of 2021 Gutherson signed a contract extension with the Eels until the end of the 2025 season on a deal worth in excess of $850,000 per season.