Sought after ... Justin Poore. Photo: Getty Images
OFF-contract prop Justin Poore, who faced an uncertain future after an injury-stricken and challenging stint with the Eels, has emerged as one of the most sought after players on the market with Newcastle, Canberra and two English clubs in the hunt for him.
It was possible Parramatta could still make the former NSW Origin prop an offer to remain there for at least one more season as incoming coach Ricky Stuart and Eels football manager Peter Nolan worked through the club's playing roster for 2013 and beyond.
A week after The Sun-Herald revealed the Knights had expressed their interest in recruiting Poore to join a rejuvenated Willie Mason and Kade Snowden upfront, it emerged the Canberra Raiders had also targeted him to bolster their pack.
News of Poore's link to the Raiders came to light after it was suggested that New Zealand second-rower Bronson Harrison was on the outer at the club. However, adding to the demand for Poore were Super League teams Hull and Castleford wanting to lure him to England.
Stuart remained tight-lipped about his intentions for Poore, and the other off-contract Eels players, when contacted yesterday.
''I'm in the middle of talking about the roster, and the ongoing roster for the next three years, with Peter Nolan right now,'' Stuart said. ''It's something we're constantly talking about but we're not revealing anything [for public consumption] yet.''
Poore, who started last night's match against the Roosters on the bench, missed most of last season through injury after being signed to a three-year-deal that was believed to be worth close to $1 million.
Fuifui Moimoi was believed to have signed a still-to-be-confirmed two-year deal that would allow the 32-year-old to see out his career in the blue-and-gold colours.
Stuart said upon his appointment to coach the Eels that he would not rush to sign ''quick fixes'' to try to solve the club's woes after three barren seasons.
It was expected he would be able to recruit heavily in 2014 with 19 players - including Willie Tonga, Esi Tonga, Justin Horo and Ben Roberts - coming off contract.
Players said to be in Stuart's long-term plans included Gold Coast back-rower Greg Bird, North Queensland prop James Tamou, Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce and Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah, all of whom were coached by Stuart in the NSW Origin side and who all come off contract next year.
Meanwhile, winger Sandor Earl, who joined Canberra from Penrith mid-season, is set to sign a new two-year-deal with the Raiders next week.