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Eels not alone in bid to lure Norman south

Date

Michael Chammas, Brad Walter

Hot property … Brisbane's Corey Norman.

Hot property … Brisbane's Corey Norman. Photo: Getty Images

 PARRAMATTA will have to fight off bids from St George Illawarra and Penrith to lure Corey Norman from Brisbane for next season.

Norman is keen to remain at the Broncos beyond the end of this year, but Scott Prince's arrival from Gold Coast - as well as their interest in North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston - has cast a shadow over Norman's future at the club.

Parramatta, who are believed to be interested in up to three of Brisbane's players, are in the box seat to capitalise on the uncertainty around Norman's career, preparing an offer to bring the 22-year-old to the club next year as Chris Sandow's halves partner.

Norman, the player once anointed as Darren Lockyer's heir apparent, has also been linked to the Dragons, who are yet to re-sign Jamie Soward beyond the end of this season.

There is also a gaping hole in St George Illawarra's halves stocks following the retirement of skipper Ben Hornby at the end of last year.

Penrith have cleared the decks for Thurston but are also believed to be in the market for Norman.

Norman's manager Paul Sutton admitted there is plenty of interest in the Brisbane playmaker, who looks poised to start the season off the bench, but did his best to play down the speculation over his future.

''I have heard through third parties that there are a number of clubs interested but none of them have come forth and expressed any direct interest,'' Sutton said.

''He is obviously in the last year of his contract so he has got every right to have a look around.

''Corey is keen to stay in Brisbane so hopefully we can come to an agreement but if things aren't heading in the right direction we will certainly have to go and speak to other clubs.''

Norman has strong ties with Eels recruitment manager Peter Nolan, who was at the Broncos when the five-eighth was progressing through the club's junior ranks.

But Parramatta haven't enjoyed any success in the player market since Ricky Stuart's arrival at the club, missing out on the signings of Israel Folau, Greg Bird, James Tamou and Matt Scott.

It was only last week Scott turned down a lucrative offer from the Eels to remain at the Cowboys.

''We were very close,'' Stuart said of Parramatta's pursuit of the Queensland and Australia prop.

''But he showed a lot of strength and loyalty to stay with his club, such as James Tamou did. I don't really see it as losing a player when they stay with their club.''

 

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