Eels release Murray from contract - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels release Murray from contract

By Ben Horne 19/05/2011 07:12:41 PM Comments (0)

Months after it emerged young halfback Brad Murray had been embroiled in the NRL betting scandal, Parramatta decided on Thursday to release the troubled player from his contract.

Murray had been under significant pressure since being identified in November as one of several people to have placed a bet on a North Queensland penalty goal as the first scoring play in a game against Canterbury in 2010.

The suspicion surrounding the betting plunge on the unusual option put Murray under heavy scrutiny, however NSW Crime Commission detectives investigating the matter interviewed the 21-year-old and decided he had no case to answer.

Earlier in the week, it was reported Murray was stood down from all playing and training duties at the Eels and, on Thursday morning, it was decided the club would part company with the halfback who was apparently struggling to cope with the pressures of his current situation.

Murray looks set to become a key witness in the defence of his agent Sam Ayoub, charged with attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception, relating to the same betting plunge.

Ayoub and former player John Elias have pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

Murray used to live with Ayoub and, in the player manager's court appearance on April 7, his lawyer Danny Eid summonsed Murray to appear.

Despite being issued with a subpoena, Murray did not attend.

"I want to thank the Parramatta Eels for everything they've done for me," said Murray on Thursday.

"I need some time away from the game to focus on other interests and they've been very understanding of that.

"Hopefully, I'll be in a position to return to the game in the near future."

Eels chief executive Paul Osborne said Murray left with the club's best wishes.

"Obviously it's been a difficult time for Brad and we wish him all the best in the future. We hope to see him playing again soon."

In a day of action for the Eels off the field, the club announced Joel Reddy would miss at least 12 weeks of football after undergoing surgery on his injured pectoral muscle.

Gold Coast centre Esi Tonga was also confirmed as the club's third new signing behind Chris Sandow and Ben Roberts for 2012.

Tonga, squeezed out of the Titans following their signing of Jamal Idris, joins the Eels on a two-year deal.

Off contract star Reddy was originally expected to miss the rest of the season, however he held hope he'd be back on the field within three months.

The 25-year-old says he wants to stay at Parramatta but Canterbury are reportedly one of several other options for the tenacious centre.

Reddy said he was shattered to be unable to showcase his best football with his contract on the line, and didn't know whether Tonga's signature would impact on his chances of being re-signed by the Eels.

"It's not the best thing, probably not the best timing either. But it's not quite the season, it's only a 12-week injury, so it gives me something to push for I suppose," he told AAP.

"It's definitely (tough) but it's in my manager's hands what I'm doing next year so I'll just leave it up to him for now and concentrate on getting the right recovery for my pec."

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