Scandal-plagued Murray swoops to Tweed
A PLAYER caught up in the betting scandal that has rocked rugby league has signed with the Tweed Heads Seagulls in an attempt to resurrect his career.
Brad Murray is a key witness in the ongoing saga that has already resulted in three people being charged with trying to defraud bookmakers by fixing an NRL game in 2010 between Canterbury and North Queensland.
Former Canterbury player Ryan Tandy is in the process of appealing a guilty verdict on the charge of attempting to gain financial advantage by deception, while another former player, John Elias, was found not guilty and player manager Sam Ayoub's case is ongoing.
Murray broke NRL rules by placing bets on the option at the centre of the scandal (Cowboys scoring first through a penalty goal), and he was released from his contract with Parramatta but was not charged by the police.
The 21-year-old's contract with Tweed Heads is the second chance to play at the elite level Seagulls coach Ben Anderson said Murray deserves.
"He made an error of judgement and has paid for that, but he is a good guy needing another chance and I am happy to give it to him," Anderson said.
"I went down there (to Sydney) and met with Brad, and he is a good bloke. I back the kid, I like him and want the best for him."
Murray, who played in the National Youth Competition with the Sydney Roosters, and then played lower grades with the Eels, will enter into a tight battle for a spot in the halves at the Seagulls in 2012.
Brad Davis and Matt King had a mortgage on the halfback and five-eighth positions this year, but Anderson is after more depth in those positions in 2012 and said King was probably better at hooker.
Add Titan's contracted player Kayne Lawton into a mix of potential halves that includes Tim Maccan and Michael Burgess (Seagulls Colts last year), plus another new signing in Brenton Fidock, you have a line-up of guys for the six and seven jerseys.
"It is good having all those players fighting for those positions," Anderson said.
"I thought we lacked some depth in the halves last year and if we had have picked up a serious injury to one of those guys it would have really hurt us."
Tweed Heads Seagulls
Gains: Blake Anderson (Gold Coast Titans), Shaun Carney (Gold Coast Titans), Aaron Fairweather (Gold Coast Titans), Brad Murray (Parramatta Eels), Josh Blatch (Atherton), Brenton Fidock (Newcastle).
Losses: Ryan Simpkins (Penrith Panthers), Josh Starling (Brisbane Broncos), Shannon Walker (rugby union), Will Matthews (St George Illawarra), Nathanael Barnes (Broncos/Wynnum Manly), Kingi Akauola (Easts Tigers).