In the spotlight ... Israel Folau announces his deal with the Waratahs on Tuesday. Photo: Anthony Johnson
PARRAMATTA legend Ray Price has launched a scathing attack on former teammate Steve Sharp before this weekend's board elections, claiming the ParraFirst ticket is ''solely interested in getting their hands on the NRL side''.
The make-up of the Parramatta District Rugby League Club board will be decided at the ballot box on Saturday when Sharp's rebel ticket tries to oust incumbent directors of the Parra 4 Ever ticket, previously known as 3P. The charter of the board is to oversee the junior development of league in the region, while a separate Parramatta Leagues Club elections in April will allow the victors to oversee the Parramatta Eels.
In a letter to members, Price claims prospective ParraFirst candidates are campaigning on issues outside their jurisdiction.
''Irrespective about what others are trying to make you believe, this election is about our juniors,'' Price wrote. ''It saddens us that most of what we have heard from these other candidates has very little focus on the development of junior rugby league and more so about the running and workings of the NRL first grade team. That is not what these upcoming PDRL elections are about.''
In separate correspondence expected to reach Eels members on Thursday, Price added: ''Unfortunately the ParraFirst ticket appears to be solely interested in getting their hands on the NRL side.''
Sharp defended his ticket's commentary on NRL issues, pointing out the constitution decrees three directors from the PDRL must sit on the leagues club board, which controls the Eels.
''It's the same three people in the PDRL - the same chairman and deputy chairman - that sit on both boards,'' Sharp said. ''That's one of the things we'll look at restructuring if we gain control come mid-next year.''
The incumbent board, headed by chairman Roy Spagnolo, ended the 30-year reign of Denis Fitzgerald when it swept to power in 2009.
It has since posted an estimated combined profit of $35.35 million after inheriting a loss of $9.5 million. On-field success has been harder to come by, with the Eels finishing in last and second-last position over the past two seasons, a steep decline from their 2009 grand final loss to the cap-rorting Storm.
There have been suggestions that Fitzgerald is behind the ParraFirst campaign, but Sharp said ''the Emperor'' would not return to the fold under his watch.
''I believe that the opposition ticket has ulterior motives, and this becomes evident with some of the cheap shots they've thrown at some really decent people, in order to try and fool our members into voting for them,'' wrote candidate and former Eels winger Eric Grothe jnr, who will run alongside his namesake and father on the Parra 4 Ever ticket, in a message to voters.
''I firmly believe our members will see straight through this, and I hope so, because I want to be involved with this club that I've called home for most of my life and see great things happen with our juniors.''