JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Rhinos' move on Tonga may allow Folau to join Eels

Trimming the fat ... Eels Coach Ricky Stuart with players at pre-season training.

Trimming the fat ... Eels Coach Ricky Stuart with players at pre-season training. Photo: Wolter Peeters

INTEREST in Willie Tonga from English Super League premiers Leeds might help Parramatta to sign Israel Folau, with the Eels having been told to shed players to accommodate the returning AFL star under the salary cap for next season.

Despite Parramatta's release of Tonga's brother Esi and Kiwi second-rower Justin Horo to Manly earlier this week, Fairfax Media understands that the club has only $110,000 left under the salary cap.

The Eels are looking to find third-party deals for Folau, who was granted a release from his $1.5 million-per-season AFL contract two weeks ago, but NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert has ruled out allowing them to sign the 23-year-old for $110,000.

Tackled by the salary cap … Willie Tonga could be on his way out of Parramatta.

Tackled by the salary cap … Willie Tonga could be on his way out of Parramatta. Photo: Getty Images

Folau wants to play for Parramatta but the only way the club can fit him under the salary cap next season is if other players leave. Sources in England have said that Leeds are keen to sign Tonga.

Rhinos boss Garry Hetherington has said the club is on the hunt for a ''quality centre'' from the NRL and it is understood his focus is on Tonga, who has another year to run on his contract with the Eels.

The 29-year-old former Queensland and Australian centre might consider the move if a long-term deal is offered. However, it is understood Parramatta officials will not ask any player to leave so they can accommodate Folau and hope to resolve the situation with the NRL.

Parramatta chief executive Ken Edwards and recruitment manager Peter Nolan have discussed with Schubert and NRL interim chief executive Shane Mattiske how the club could add Folau to its roster, but new coach Ricky Stuart is frustrated by the delays.

Because of Parramatta's salary cap issue, the Eels and Folau have not been able to negotiate a contract as they do not know how much the club can afford to pay him next season.

With up to 20 players off contract at the end of next season, the club does not have any problems beyond 2013 but it is struggling to finalise a deal that is acceptable to the NRL.

The case has echoes of the Greg Inglis saga two years ago after he was forced to leave Melbourne because of the club's salary cap scandal.

However, the NRL refused to register his contract with Brisbane and South Sydney also went through weeks of protracted negotiations and were forced to release centre Beau Champion after Schubert ruled third-party payments had to come under the salary cap.

At the time a disillusioned Inglis, who recently signed a $4million, five-year deal with the Rabbitohs, believed that the NRL did not want him and considered switching to AFL after meeting Essendon coach James Hird.

Complicating the Folau case is that he was on huge money from the AFL to help promote Greater Western Sydney Giants, but would not command the same value in the NRL as he has not played league for two years.

However, his signing with the Eels would still be a marketing coup for the NRL in the battle between the codes for western Sydney and has already helped Parramatta to sell memberships.

Meanwhile, Willie Mason has re-signed with Newcastle for two more seasons. The former Test forward joined Newcastle, his home-town club, earlier this year on a cut-price deal and showed enough form to secure an extension. He will be 34 by the time this deal expires.

''Willie made a wonderful contribution to the Knights from the minute he arrived, which has been well documented,'' coach Wayne Bennett said.

''We are all looking forward to seeing what a good pre-season can do for him as well as seeing him play with the Knights for the next two seasons.''

Mason said he always expected to re-sign with the Knights.

''The deal was done earlier in the year and I am glad all the formalities have now been finalised,'' Mason said. ''I am very excited to be a Knight for the next two years.''

19 comments so far

  • Folau is a mercenary. He should come back to the code with his tale between his legs and not be on more than $300K. Any more than that would be ridiculous. His body is going to need to be worked on hard and i don't think we will see him at his best until at least 18 mths into his contract. Just look at what rugby did for Gasnier...

    Commenter
    Folau the Ultimate Joker
    Date and time
    November 16, 2012, 2:32AM
    • Agree totally.. The NRL has done fine without him and SWB ... So why do we so desperatly need them now..

      Commenter
      Ian
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      November 16, 2012, 8:44AM
    • as a Dragons and Gas fan, I agree 100%. Mark returned to RL half the man he was

      Commenter
      TommyP
      Date and time
      November 16, 2012, 11:56AM
    • And yet Schubert allowed Gasnier to play for dragons for a starting salary of $50k after he comes from french rugby to a heavily back ended deal - and then gaz retired from the game before dragons ever even copped the pain of that back ended deal......

      one rule book for storm/broncs/drags and one for eels!

      Commenter
      Knight Rider
      Date and time
      November 16, 2012, 12:54PM
  • Parra need to get rid of Chris Sandow, not Willie Tonga. Biggest waste of 550k in the comp.

    Commenter
    parso81
    Location
    Vietnam
    Date and time
    November 16, 2012, 2:45AM
    • Sorry, but I just have to ask the question...how does a team that played so poorly this year that they won the wooden spoon have salary cap issues?????? Just how much ARE they paying some of these second rate players? I think decisions need to be made out Parramatta way that some of the poorer performers need to be offloaded so that some quality players can come in! Tough decisions need to be made and made very quickly otherwise we will be looking at another season of heartbreak and frustration!

      Commenter
      Matt
      Location
      Burwood
      Date and time
      November 16, 2012, 8:19AM
      • See comment above for answers to your question on where the Eels money is going. The Sandow Fiasco (as I'm sure it will come to be known) represents the biggest waste of money since the Monorail. Every one of his mis-timed shoulder charges and pointless, aimless kicks must be like a slap to the face of every Eels fan

        Commenter
        karlmarx
        Date and time
        November 16, 2012, 9:47AM
    • How in God's great earth can a team that secured the wooden spoon well before mid season and lost their captain and possibly their best defender in Hindmarsh still be over the salary cap? They bought some mediocre players for 2013 and now they expect special dispensation from the ARLC and every other NRL club. What a joke. Sorry but either get rid of some of your overrated players in order to recruit Folau or shut the hell up and consider sacking the person doing your recruiting. Typical of Ricky, keeping this issue in the media to get maximum attention. Nothing but a ploy.

      Commenter
      Catapultluch
      Location
      Rooty Hill
      Date and time
      November 16, 2012, 8:59AM
      • This is ridiculous did we not just buy both Tonga brothers last year? Why would you pay big bucks for Folau anyway? He failed with his cross-code stint and is begging now to be paid top dollar. Really? He was a good finisher as a winger that was really about it but nothing says for certain that he will slot into fullback and have any dramatic impact. Parramatta is just chasing fairies again am preparing for another boring, dull and depressing season with the same old rot.

        This would be now disrupting their pre-season and will do as long as this isn't finalised. The problem for Parramatta for the last three years has been in the halves, which isn't the worlds biggest secret and they've let go at a chance of a quality english forward.

        Commenter
        El Seano
        Date and time
        November 16, 2012, 9:12AM
        • Maybe Parra can field a team with 5 players to fit in under the salary cap. The clown is seriously delusional he's worth anywhere near that money as a Parra for entertaining him.

          Commenter
          daffy
          Date and time
          November 16, 2012, 9:32AM

          More comments

          Make a comment

          You are logged in as [Logout]

          All information entered below may be published.

          Error: Please enter your screen name.

          Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Please enter your comment.

          Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

          Post to

          You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

          Thank you

          Your comment has been submitted for approval.

          Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

          NRL Season 2015

          Round 1
          Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
          BRI 6 vs SOU 36 Report Stats
          Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
          PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
          Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
          NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
          GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
          NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Report Stats
          Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
          PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
          CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Report Stats
          Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
          STG 4 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 2
          Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
          CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
          CRO 2 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
          Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
          PEN 40 vs GCT Report Stats
          MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
          NQL 14 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
          Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
          SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
          CBR 6 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
          Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
          WST 22 vs STG 4 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 3
          Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
          MAN 12 vs CBY 16 Report Stats
          BRI 44 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
          Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
          NZW 29 vs PAR 16 Report Stats
          CBR 20 vs STG 22 Report Stats
          MEL 36 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
          Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
          SOU 20 vs WST 6 Report Stats
          GCT 18 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
          Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
          SYD 20 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 4
          Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
          PAR 29 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
          WST 24 vs CBY 25 Report Stats
          Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
          NEW 26 vs PEN 14 Report Stats
          CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Report Stats
          STG 12 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
          Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
          NZW 16 vs BRI 24 Report Stats
          SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Report Stats
          Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
          NQL 18 vs MEL 17 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 5
          Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
          CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
          GCT 16 vs BRI 26 Report Stats
          Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
          MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Report Stats
          NEW vs STG 13 Report Stats
          Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
          SYD 12 vs CRO 20 Report Stats
          Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
          PAR 6 vs WST 22 Report Stats
          MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
          PEN 10 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 6
          Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
          BRI 22 vs SYD 18 Report Stats
          CRO 22 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
          Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
          PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Report Stats
          NZW 32 vs WST 22 Report Stats
          PEN 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
          Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
          CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Report Stats
          STG 31 vs CBY 6 Report Stats
          Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
          SOU 12 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 7
          Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
          CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
          STG 12 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
          Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
          GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Report Stats
          NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
          MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
          Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
          WST 22 vs CBR 30 Report Stats
          NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Report Stats
          Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
          CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 8
          Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
          CBY 14 vs WST 38 Stats
          Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
          NZW 28 vs GCT 32 Report Stats
          NEW 24 vs NQL 26 Report Stats
          SYD 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
          MEL 10 vs MAN 12 Stats
          BRI 28 vs PAR 16 Stats
          Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
          PEN 26 vs CRO 18 Stats
          SOU 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 9
          Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs PEN 19:35SUN
          SYD vs WST 19:35AS
          Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
          CBR vs GCT 15:00GIO Stadium
          CRO vs NZW 17:30Remondis Stadium
          NQL vs CBY 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
          Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
          MAN vs NEW 14:00BO
          PAR vs MEL 16:00Pirtek Stadium
          Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
          SOU vs STG 19:00ANZ
          View All Fixtures
          Round 10
          Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
          CBY vs SYD 19:35ANZ
          NQL vs BRI 19:351300 Smiles Stadium
          Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
          PAR vs NZW 15:00Pirtek Stadium
          GCT vs CRO 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
          MEL vs SOU 19:30AAMI
          Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
          STG vs CBR 14:00WIN
          NEW vs WST 16:00HS
          Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
          MAN vs PEN 19:00BO
          View All Fixtures
          Round 11
          Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
          SOU vs PAR 19:45ANZ
          Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
          WST vs NQL 19:30CSS
          Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
          CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO Stadium
          Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
          NEW vs BRI 19:00HS
          View All Fixtures
          Round 12
          Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
          PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
          Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
          GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
          CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
          NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
          Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
          STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
          Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
          View All Fixtures
          Round 13
          Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
          WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
          Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
          NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
          SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
          PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
          Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
          CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
          Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
          CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
          PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 14
          Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
          WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
          Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
          Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
          GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
          Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
          View All Fixtures
          Round 15
          Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
          MAN vs WST 19:45BO
          Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
          CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
          GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
          CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
          Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
          NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
          MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
          Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
          STG vs SYD 19:00AS
          View All Fixtures
          Round 16
          Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
          SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
          Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
          NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
          PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
          Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
          WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
          Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
          CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
          View All Fixtures
          Round 17
          Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
          PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
          Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
          STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
          Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
          MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
          Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
          WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
          View All Fixtures
          Round 18
          Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
          CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
          Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
          PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
          CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
          Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
          CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
          Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
          GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 19
          Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
          PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
          MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
          Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
          CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
          NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
          STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
          Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
          SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
          BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
          Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
          MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
          View All Fixtures
          Round 20
          Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
          WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
          Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
          SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
          MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
          Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
          PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
          CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
          Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
          NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 21
          Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
          Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
          NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
          STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
          SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
          SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
          MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
          WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
          GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 22
          Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
          Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
          NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
          CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
          MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
          CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
          MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
          PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
          View All Fixtures
          Round 23
          Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
          CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
          NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
          PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
          CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
          SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
          CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
          WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
          View All Fixtures
          Round 24
          Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
          NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
          Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
          STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
          SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
          SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
          MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
          CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
          MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
          GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 25
          Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
          PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
          NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
          SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
          CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
          MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
          MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
          WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
          GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 26
          Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
          BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
          CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
          NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
          STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
          PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
          PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
          SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
          CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          NRL Ladder 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D Pts
          St George-Illawarra Dragons 8 6 2 0 12
          Brisbane Broncos 8 6 2 0 12
          Melbourne Storm 8 5 3 0 10
          North Queensland Cowboys 8 5 3 0 10
          Wests Tigers 8 4 4 0 8
          South Sydney Rabbitohs 8 4 4 0 8
          Gold Coast Titans 8 4 4 0 8
          Penrith Panthers 8 4 4 0 8
          View all
           
          Featured advertisers