NRL News: Eels reject Lomax’s coach clause, Dolphins cop further hits to depleted roster


Brad Arthur’s future as Eels coach is looking more bleak by the round after revelations that club officials refused to allow star signing Zac Lomax to tie his contract to the besieged mentor.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Lomax requested a condition of his signing with Parramatta for 2025 onwards on a four-year deal was a clause that made him a free agent if Arthur was given the boot.

However, Eels officials refused the request and the St George Illawarra winger ended up inking the deal recently.

Arthur is contracted until the end of next year but with the team struggling and speculation swirling about Wayne Bennett potentially being targeted to take over at the helm, pressure is growing at Parra.

The Eels coach has admitted he needs to get the team winning again to keep his job with the side sitting 14th and questions being asked around Arthur’s future.

They went down in controversial circumstances to Manly on Friday night and have the bye this round before hosting the in-form Broncos next Friday night.

The charges to Daly Cherry-Evans and Haumole Olakau’autu for a dangerous throw, even though the skipper wasn’t sin-binned, frustrated the Eels, who were fuming over several key calls in their 32-18 loss on Friday night.

Parramatta are fuming at why Cherry-Evans did not join Olakau’atu in the bin for the first-half tackle, if he was equally at fault.

The match review committee report was good for Parramatta – Maika Sivo and Ryan Matterson can both accept fines for dangerous contact and a high tackle respectively.

Sivo was sin-binned for his dangerous contact on Reuben Garrick, while Matterson’s high hit on Luke Brooks in the first half went unpunished.

All hands on deck at Dolphins

The already injury-ravaged Dolphins could be without the Bromwich brothers -Jesse and Kenny – next week after they were injured in the 18-14 loss to Newcastle.

Dolphins captain and prop forward Jesse Bromwich finished Sunday’s clash at Suncorp Stadium with ice on his right calf while second-rower Kenny Bromwich failed an HIA in the first half after sustaining a category two concussion. 

Kenny faces a mandatory 11-day stand down unless the Dolphins appeal to the NRL and have that overturned, as some clubs have successfully achieved recently.

Queensland representatives Thomas Flegler (shoulder) and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (hamstring) won’t be available for Saturday night’s away clash with North Queensland. Neither will England international centre Herbie Farnworth (AC joint).

Jesse Bromwich confirmed his calf injury after the loss.

“It is a bit sore and tender but I will get scans. I haven’t had a calf tear before,” he said.

“It doesn’t feel like a tear. It is either a bad cork or a little strain. If not (I will play) next week or the week after.

“I’m hoping I will be fine next week but (injuries) seem to be the story of our season. We’ve had a few guys get injured and guys come in and do a great job.”

Veteran second-rower Felise Kaufusi (hamstring) has a chance of a comeback against the Cowboys.

In better news, Samoan international back-rower Connelly Lemuelu played his first game in two months for Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup on return from a medial collateral ligament injury sustained in round one of the NRL.

“I am pretty sure we get Felise back next week and Connelly Lemuelu and they are two forwards we could do with,” Bromwich said.

“I spoke to a few boys who went and watched Connelly play yesterday and he was looking really good and really fit.

“He’s been doing a lot of training on his own and has joined the (NRL) team (at training) the last week-and-a-half and looks lean and ready to go.”

The Dolphins are in sixth position after round eight despite their injury list, and although they started poorly against the Knights they did finish with typical conviction.

They are yet to lose back-to-back games this year and Bromwich said there would be much to play for against the Cowboys, after a dismal 43-18 loss in round one. 

Bromwich backed coach Wayne Bennett to come up with a solution to the Knights loss.

“We put a lot of trust in Wayne. Next week we worry about ourselves and figure out how we get back to our best footy and sort out all the injuries,” Bromwich said.

“We are coming up against a pretty tough Cowboys outfit that put a score on us in round one. We are looking to bounce back. We have improved since then. We have shown that.”

with AAP

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