Norman's new Eels deal imminent
In some long-awaited good news for beleaguered blue and gold fans, in-demand Parramatta playmaker Corey Norman is expecting to put pen to paper on a new deal at the club as soon as this week.
Despite massive recent upheaval at the club – including the likely stripping of 12 competition points as part of the NRL's penalty for repeated salary cap breaches which also led to the departure of key man Nathan Peats – Norman said he didn't even test the open market, so keen was he to remain at Parramatta.
With a bit of clear air in front of the Eels now the departure of Peats has freed up some cap space and the cap situation is clearer, Norman said he hoped to have a deal done this week.
"I think my manager and [the club] will sort something out this week. With all that drama over now, or some of it, we can try to move forward," Norman said.
"I didn't go on the market because I wanted to stay at Parramatta. I love the club, I love the coaching staff, I love the boys. So I gave Parramatta every opportunity so I could stay here.
"I could have gone on the market but I held back because I wanted to give Parramatta the opportunity."
Norman said while he hadn't heard anything from the club about him being the next target to move on if they couldn't move Peats to clear their salary cap problems, he definitely felt bad for his departed mate having to move on.
"I did [feel bad], yeah. You do feel bad even though it's got nothing much to do with me."
Peats had indicated publicly in a round of media interviews following his signing with the Titans that only he and Norman were in a position to fix the club's cap issues by leaving, but that was news to Norman at the time.
"We're still mates and nothing has changed, even when he said that. I caught up with him after the game and we had a few drinks before he left so everything is the same."
Norman has carried an additional burden over recent weeks as the club's chief playmaker with star half Kieran Foran on personal leave and said he didn't yet know if Foran would make a return on Monday to face the Storm but was happy with the job new halves partner Brad Takairangi has been doing in the interim.
"I wouldn't have a clue [if Foran will be back] to be honest. I'm sure if he's right to go then Brad will let us know. We'll be training as if Takas is there this week ready to do a job for us again," he said.