Reports have recently emerged that the Parramatta Eels have held a meeting with fullback and club captain Clint Gutherson.
The meeting is believed to have been about the fullback role and how the Eels will be looking to sign a new number one in the coming seasons.
As Gutherson has recently re-signed with the Eels this news has come as a shock to many but due to his versatility this may not mean that the club is looking to move the New South Wales State of Origin representative on.
Gutherson could make way for a new fullback by moving into the centres but considering his big wage and the fact that both Dylan Brown and Mitchell Moses have just re-signed with the Eels on big money suggests that the club would be unable to invest a lot of money into a new fullback unless the 28-year-old leaves.
In 2025 Gutherson’s current deal with Parramatta comes to an end which opens the door for a marquee fullback to join the Eels.
At this point two players who are also off-contract in 2025 stand out as a possible replacement for Gutherson.
Reece Walsh is currently on fire at the Brisbane Broncos and would be turning just 24 years old if he joined the Eels in 2026 meaning the club would likely have him for his prime years.
The other option is James Tedesco; however, the Australian captain may opt to retire after his current deal is up as he will be 32 at the time of negotiation but could be an amazing short-term option for Parramatta if his form is still around as good as it is now.
— Parramatta Eels (@TheParraEels) April 8, 2023
If the unlikely happens and Parramatta manages to free up enough salary cap space to keep Gutherson and sign a new fullback before the end of his contract or decide to release him early then there are another two options for them.
At 23-years-old Jayden Campbell’s best years are still ahead of him and next year he is free to negotiate with rival clubs.
Next season if he is still used as more of a bench utility at the Gold Coast Titans this time next year the Eels may be able to sign him on a relatively affordable deal and start him at fullback as he starts to reach his peak.
Back-to-back premiership winner Dylan Edwards can also negotiate with rival clubs next season and given Penrith’s inability to re-sign star players due to salary cap constraints it is possible that Edwards could test his value on the open market and if that is the case then the Eels could take the opportunity to bring a proven winner into their squad whilst weakening their fiercest rivals in the process.
There are plenty of options for the Eels over the coming seasons but for now Gutherson will be hoping that he can do enough to get the club’s attention back on him.