Eels go with eight-man leadership group
PARRAMATTA has named Tim Mannah and Beau Scott as co-captains in a leadership shake-up following the most tumultuous season of the club's history.
Mannah led with distinction throughout the endless off-field scandals and salary cap drama of 2016, just as he had done since Brad Arthur made him captain three years ago.
Bruising back-rower Scott will help share the load in 2017 as the pair head up a new eight-man leadership group, the first in the club's history, which also features controversial half Corey Norman and rising 21-year-old Tepai Moeroa.
"Beau and Tim are admired and respected by their teammates and coaches alike and I look forward to working closely with them over the course of the season,” Arthur said.
"In 2017 we want to build the leadership capability amongst our team so I am pleased that we have appointed a leadership group with an energetic mix of respected senior players and emerging leaders, all with their part to play in our club's development.”
Mannah, Scott, Norman and Moeroa are also joined by veterans Frank Pritchard, Issac De Gois, Manu Ma'u and Michael Jennings in the leadership group, which is tasked with setting standards both on and off the field.
For Norman in particular it's a significant appointment given a roller-coaster 2016 campaign that included an eight-week NRL suspension and a $20,000 fine for drug possession and filming a lewd sex video that went viral.
The move is a nod to his standing as Parramatta's on-field general, established with some scintillating form in the wake of Kieran Foran's departure and acknowledged in a bumper $2.1 million contract extension until the end of 2019.
"I am proud to be a part of the leadership group in 2017,” Norman said.
"As a group we want to drive the standards and behaviours that will make our team successful in 2017.”
Moeroa's inclusion in the group is also a possible pointer to his future at the club.
As he gears up for his third full season of first grade, the youngster tipped for NSW honours down the track has reportedly been shopped around by the Eels.
Moeroa is off-contract at the end of 2017 and has been the subject of lucrative approaches from French and Japanese rugby in the past, as well as Super Rugby outfit Waikato.
A schoolboy star in the 15-man game, not to mention one of Australia's best young shot-putters and someone who has been mentioned as a potential Olympian, Moeroa declared recently that his preference was to stay in the blue and gold.
Confirmation this week that Semi Radradra will leave the club for French rugby in 2018 frees up significant salary cap space for next season, which could result in Moeroa being retained and leave enough cash for a serious crack at a player market chock full of big names and emerging talent.