Eels CEO changes tune to lure Tahu - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels CEO changes tune to lure Tahu

By Steve Jancetic 23/07/2009 06:25:30 PM Comments (0)

New Parramatta chief executive Paul Osborne admits he tried to convince Timana Tahu to consider playing rugby in Japan before luring the disgruntled Wallaby back to the Eels.

Osborne revealed Tahu had used him as a sounding board to voice his frustration at limited opportunities in the 15-man game just weeks before the former Canberra and St George prop had been appointed to succeed former Parramatta supremo Denis Fitzgerald.

Since then Osborne has managed to persuade the 28-year-old to return to the NRL with the Eels in 2010, the deal dependant on Tahu gaining a release from the last two years of his ARU contract.

Osborne said he told Tahu to explore the option of chasing the big money on offer in Japanese rugby, but was forced to quickly change his tune once he took over at the Eels.

"I know Timana and his family pretty well and I've been talking to them for a while about what he was going to do going forward because he hasn't been happy in rugby," Osborne told AAP on Thursday.

"We talked about going to Japan and then obviously I got this job and I had to change all that.

"I said `all that advice about going to Japan mate, I take it back'.

"He hasn't played a lot of footy, he's not happy and we'd welcome him back with open arms obviously.

"He lives five minutes from the ground - he's a very private person and he's very close to his wife and kids.

"If he's not happy on the field it's not good for him so I want to bring him hopefully to an environment where he's wanted."

Osborne was unclear just where Tahu stood in his bid to gain a release from his rugby deal, an ARU official confirming the dual international had yet to call their office to set up a meeting.

The ARU said Tahu would need to meet with high performance manager David Nucifora to discuss any release from his contract.

"He's in the process of trying to resolve a couple of issues with the ARU," Osborne said.

"Once he's ended his agreement with them then hopefully we can do something."

The addition of Tahu would cap a great recruitment drive by the Eels with NSW Origin prop Justin Poore and Sydney Roosters backrower Shane Shackleton having agreed to terms.

Osborne said his next priority would be re-signing the likes of Jarryd Hayne and Daniel Mortimer, who are amongst a host of players coming off contract at the end of next season.

Osborne denied the arrival of Tahu would impact the club's ability to hold onto Hayne, who has been in stunning form this season.

"We've got enough money floating around to sign Jarryd - Jarryd won't leave Parramatta because of money," Osborne said.

"He seems happy, I've had a couple of meetings with his manager and I'm very hopeful that he'll stay."

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