Eels confident review will avert loss of points
Parramatta Eels acting CEO John Boulos says the club is doing everything possible to ensure an NRL-mandated government review will ensure they don't wind up starting 2016 on minus four competition points.
Earlier in the year the NRL fined the Eels $525,000 – reduced to $465,000 on appeal – with a suspended fine of four competition points if the club did not complete a governance review and implement any recommended changes by the start of next season.
That was the result of Parramatta being found to have exceeded all four salary caps for the 2014 season.
Speaking at the club's annual awards night, Boulos said the contract to conduct the review is currently out to tender. The review is likely to commence next month if all goes to plan.
Boulos said feedback from the NRL indicated the governing body was so far happy with the steps the club had taken, and assured fans that the club was doing everything it could to ensure success both on and off the field.
"We'll work together with the NRL to select the appropriate organisation to undertake the review. From there, we'll look to use the information from that review to improve what we do and take our business forward," Boulos said.
"That means that we'll implement what we believe, and what the NRL believe, is most appropriate. And obviously [it's] the first priority within the business, we'll be able to do that prior to the season and we'll work very closely with the NRL.
"Everyone within the organisation wants the Eels to be successful on and off the field, and that's a huge priority for us.
"The club is committed to pushing forward with best practice, but not only talking about it, actually doing it. And that's something we're very passionate about, and [we're] committed [to]."
Asked about the lingering prospect of starting on minus four competition points next year, Boulos said the club was doing everything possible to ensure that didn't happen, adding the NRL was so far "very much" satisfied with the steps the club had taken since the original penalties were handed down.
"We're working very closely with the NRL. We share a strong working relationship with them. We'll work through this process and we'll get better as a club. Obviously you can't control what's happened, but certainly we can control what's ahead. And that's very exciting for me and the club," he said.
Asked about the contract futures of centre Will Hopoate – reportedly in the midst of a legal dispute over a component of his contract – and off-contract fullback Reece Robinson (who has been linked in some reports with a switch to rugby union), Boulos said the club was still in talks with both players.
"The legal procedures are still going on," Boulos said in relation to Hopoate. "[We're] no real closer on that. I don't really want to comment about that, because there is a process being undertaken at the moment… The process will work through, and when it does, we'll obviously make the appropriate announcements."
Of his own future, the acting CEO – who has been filling the role since previous CEO Scott Seward left in July – said he would be a candidate to take on the role full-time and that the board was aware of his desires to take on the role permanently.