NRL refuses to help Eels' Cooper chase - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL refuses to help Eels' Cooper chase

By Steve Jancetic and Ben Horne 18/08/2010 07:34:30 PM Comments (0)

The NRL is refusing to assist Parramatta in their pursuit of Wallabies star Quade Cooper - a chase which is threatening to derail the Eels' late charge to the finals.

Departing star Feleti Mateo - man of the match in last week's win over Brisbane - on Wednesday revealed his disappointment that the club could not re-sign him yet had the money to launch an audacious bid to snare Cooper.

Coupled with the growing uncertainty over the future of coach Daniel Anderson - with Melbourne assistant Stephen Kearney reportedly being lined up as a replacement - the Eels are a far cry from the unified outfit which took all before them in marching into last year's grand final.

Mateo along with Eels local junior Krisnan Inu have both been squeezed out of the club next year with the pair accepting three-year deals with the Warriors - Mateo's deal believed to be worth $350,000 a season.

The Eels are rumoured to have offered 22-year-old Cooper $1.5 million over three seasons to switch codes.

Asked if he was disappointed the Eels failed to come up with a contract big enough to keep him, Mateo said:

"That was the club's decision to offer me what they did and I chose to move on.

"If they're still chucking money around, that's what they chose to do, I can't do anything about it.

"What's done is done now, I'm not here next year so good luck to them.

"Having to leave was a bit disappointing but there's so much that I still have to do and I'm really excited about next year."

Whether Cooper will be there in his place remains up in the air, but NRL boss David Gallop said the league would not bend any rules to poach the Wallabies playmaker, a situation he explained to his manager when they met on Monday.

Gallop said the NRL had taken a hard-line stance in relation to players threatening to leave rugby league in recent years, and said the position was the same with players exploring the possibility of going the other way.

"There's too many precedents in place where we've had players under threat to go to rugby union to go making one player an exception to the rule book," Gallop said.

"It would be great (to snare Cooper), he's an exciting player and we've explained to his agent how the salary cap works and we've made it clear that we can't make any exceptions for him.

"But if he's serious about coming over to Parramatta or any other club, then we'll do what we can to help him out."

Unlike the Australian Rugby Union and the AFL - who have both topped up deals to help lure players away from rugby league - such as the multi-million dollar raids from AFL on Brisbane pair Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau - the NRL has refused to take similar measures in retaliation.

Asked about the NRL's reluctance to get involved, Gallop said:

"I said when Israel Folau went to the AFL, you need to be careful with the message that sends to your existing players and your existing clubs.

"That's why I certainly wouldn't support any sort of exemption to the salary cap."

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