Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is confident Ryan Matterson will stay with the Eels long term after reports emerged the forward has been shopped around to NRL rivals.
The 26-year-old is in just his second year with the Eels and is off contract at the end of the season with a player option in his favour for 2022.
On Tuesday News Corp reported that several clubs have been contacted by Matterson’s manager to gauge interest in the second-rower for next season and beyond.
Despite indications the Eels would have a fight on their hands to keep him, Arthur said he was unaware there was any move from Matterson to leave the Eels.
“We want Matto to stay. I didn’t know any of that,” Arthur said on Wednesday morning.
“Matto is more than comfortable here.
“He’s comfortable in the environment that we’ve put around him, he likes the playing group.
“At the end of the day players have got to do what’s best for them.
“But I’m sure Matto knows what’s best for him is to stay here.”
Matterson signed with the Eels at the end of 2019 after a bitter split with the Wests Tigers, where he spent just one season after making his debut for Sydney Roosters.
Players seeking reassurance and options at other clubs is not unusual as they near the end of contracts.
It’s a situation the Eels will have to manage this season with several high profile stars off contract.
Mitchell Moses also has a player option in his favour beyond the end of this year, while NSW forward Nathan Brown has been linked to Manly but has been offered an extension with the Eels.
The speculation about Matterson’s future comes as the Eels prepare to face NRL premiers Melbourne at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night.
Arthur said he would wait until after the game to bring it up with Matterson.
“Not today or tomorrow, we’ve got a game to worry about. I might have a chat to him about it next week,” Arthur said.
“I’m sure if he wants to talk to me about it he will, but I’m more than comfortable that Ryan wants to stay at the club.
“We’re happy with the squad that we’ve got. It’s hard to keep everyone but that’s the goal.”