NRL News: Eels encounter ‘market value’ hitch in trying to seal Lomax deal, hobbled Reynolds sets sights on early return


Parramatta will need to apply for an exemption from the NRL to sign Zac Lomax at his market value after St George Illawarra released him under the condition that they would not pay a cent for his contract beyond this year.

Lomax will see out the season at the Dragons and the Eels are the favourites to sign him for 2025 and beyond.

But under NRL rules they cannot offer him a deal less than the one he is walking away from and Lomax’s annual salary was due to rise above $800,000 next season and 2026under the terms of his long-term Dragons deal.

The Eels believe his market value has dipped below $700,000 after being dropped to the NSW Cup for a spell last season and being moved to the wing this year by new coach Shane Flanagan but they will need permission from the NRL’s salary cap auditor to get the contract lodged.

The Eels are prepared to offer the 24-year-old the chance to play his preferred position but don’t want to overpay for a player who has yet to reach his potential in the NRL.

In his first game since the Dragons granted his release request last Friday in Newcastle, the unsettled Zac Lomax was one of few exceptions as the visitors struggled to adapt to the slippery conditions.

Newcastle poked holes in the Dragons’ goal-line defence for fun in the first half, forcing Shane Flanagan to switch Lomax to fullback and put Tyrell Sloan on the wing for part of the second half.

There was speculation that he would get the No.1 jersey for this Sunday’s showdown with the Wests Tigers at CommBank Stadium but Flanagan has again named Sloan at fullback.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Reynolds pencils in return date

Brisbane skipper Adam Reynolds is targeting a round eight return against Wests Tigers as he battles back from a hamstring strain.

Reynolds left the field just before halftime in round five’s 34-32 loss to Melbourne and will be replaced by Jock Madden against the Dolphins on Friday night.

The Broncos then host Canberra in round seven before an away trip to the Tigers in Campbelltown.

“I will probably miss the Canberra game and I’m touch and go for the Tigers, but it all depends on how it pulls up,” Reynolds said on Tuesday.

“I’m feeling alright. I had a trot today at training. It felt pretty good although it wasn’t very fast.

“It will be a couple of weeks. I will see how it feels in the morning then continue to work with the physios and go from there.”

There were fears Reynolds, who has previously been hampered by a medial collateral ligament problem, had suffered a more serious injury when he left the field against Melbourne.

Vision of him showing his emotions in the dressing room against the Storm led onlookers to believe he had suffered a more serious injury.

“I was just frustrated,” Reynolds said.

“When you get one injury, you come back and want to string a few games together.

“I felt it pretty early on in that game. I wanted to get through to halftime and see where it got to and how it felt.

Anthony Milford’s NRL exile will end in Friday night’s Battle of Brisbane against the Broncos.

The Dolphins selection surprise adding to the rivalry as Broncos captain Adam Reynolds outlines when he plans to return from injury. @adamjackson_9 #9News

— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) April 9, 2024

“I felt it pretty bad towards the end of the first half and it was just frustration.

“There’s nothing more to it. You want to be a part of those games in Melbourne.

“To know you won’t be out there for the next 40 minutes, the frustration came out that way and I felt I had let the team down. “The knee was feeling good at the start of the game, so I didn’t come back too early.”

Reynolds has re-signed until the end of 2025 and said he was physically and mentally ready to honour the deal. “I am extremely confident. I wouldn’t have signed it if I wasn’t confident of seeing out my deal,” Reynolds said.

“I am a team player. I never want to let the team down and I won’t take the field unless I’m 100 per cent and willing to get the job done for the team.

“That attitude will stay right through until the end of my career.”

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