Ryan Matterson could be headed for the exit door in the off-season as the Wests Tigers try to resolve a frosty relationship between the star forward and coach Michael Maguire.
NRL.com can reveal club officials, including Maguire, recently met with Matterson and his manager to discuss his future at the club.
The meeting came after the Tigers learned a number of rival NRL clubs had received expressions of interest for Matterson's services, despite the 24-year-old still having two more years to run on his deal at the joint venture.
Matterson has arguably been the Tigers' best player this season since joining them from the Sydney Roosters, however there has been lingering tension with the hard-nosed coach for a couple of months.
Maguire is renowned as a strict disciplinarian, and his methods often get the best out of players.
However, Matterson is used to a different style of coaching having played under Trent Robinson at the Roosters.
The Tigers, who on Thursday returned to training up until grand final week, have every intention of Matterson seeing out his deal, however the club is bracing itself for the possibility he requests a release in the coming weeks.
Last year the Tigers showed with the way they handled the Ivan Cleary situation they would only release someone from a contract if they were to benefit, which in the case of Cleary came in the form of a six-figure compensation figure.
Matterson is on a deal worth around $350,000 a season at the Tigers, and is likely to attract offers in excess of $500,000 should the current dilemma result in a request for a release.
Several clubs are monitoring the situation. It is understood the Bulldogs have been sounded out about their potential interest from someone close to Matterson, while the Knights have some money to spend given the departure of Jesse Ramien, and potentially Danny Levi and Herman Ese'ese.
Matterson is also a Parramatta junior, and the club is trying to bolster its stocks in the forwards and could pounce.
The Eels are also edging closer to finalising a deal with Panthers prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard for next season.
Blue & Gold bond
The Parramatta Eels set off on a secret bonding camp last Sunday night in preparation for the finals series.
Eels coach Brad Arthur sprung it on his players after last Friday night's victory against Manly, mixing things up in the lead-up to the playoffs.
They headed to the Central Coast for a night, holding a training session north of The Entrance and spending some extra time in each other's company.
Parramatta tried to keep things as normal as possible the last time they made the finals in 2017.
The Eels finished in the top four then, however their attempt to treat the finals like the regular season backfired as they bowed out in straight sets.
They believe they benefited greatly from a bonding camp in Armidale in the pre-season and hope their Central Coast camp has galvanised the team leading into Sunday's do-or-die showdown against the Broncos at Bankwest Stadium.
Parramatta and Canberra are also the only top-eight clubs to open all their players to media this week. The Eels and Raiders should be congratulated for opening their doors, especially when six other teams opted against the optional full team media session.
1938 pricing for finals game
To commemorate the 81 years since the first time the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney squared off at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a finals match, the NRL has introduced a special ticket charity window.
All proceeds from the ticket frenzy will go to Souths Cares and the Steggles Charity Nest. To access the charity special, use the STEGGLES or SOUTHSCARES passwords at nrl.com/tickets
Super interest in Dugan
Josh Dugan has attracted plenty of interest in England from Super League clubs looking to take advantage of Cronulla's salary cap situation.
While the Sharks need to move some talent in the off-season, Dugan's manager told NRL.com that his client had no intention of moving overseas at this point in his career.
Dugan has played his best football at the Sharks over the past six weeks.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.