Trigger-happy Eels splurge on Norman

Curtis Woodward Roar Guru

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    After recently losing out on the signature of exciting backrower Josh Papalii, the Parramatta Eels have hit the panic button and forked out on young Brisbane Broncos utility Corey Norman.

    The three-year deal reportedly worth up to $1.5 million is a ludicrous amount for a kid who has been scratchy at best for the Broncos.

    When will Parramatta ever learn?

    Norman has been moved to fullback by current coach Anthony Griffin in an attempt to spark Brisbane’s misfiring backline. But a move to the Eels will ensure the youngster returns to his preferred position at five-eighth.

    Even prior to new coach Ricky Stuart’s arrival, Parramatta have been mediocre at best when it comes to their recruitment and retention. When will the people involved in these decisions be held accountable?

    Buying players for the sake of buying players is a gross misuse of funds and Norman’s signing is yet another example of how desperate this club has become.

    Is Norman’s acquisition a good move? Sure.

    Is he worth over $1.2 million? No way.

    Chris Sandow is already on a deal worth around $550,000 a season and fans are yet to see the little halfback live up to his price tag. Now Norman will join the side from 2014.

    You can’t knock a club for wanting to attract big name players and if it means spending some money, then by all means, go for it.

    But when those players are Sandow and Norman, questions need to be asked.

    How many other players will they lose over the next 12 months because so much of the salary cap is taken up by these men?

    In 2011 the Eels headed to retirement homes across the land and picked up Chris Hicks, Paul Whatuira, Chris Walker and Carl Webb. They played a combined total of 21 games that season.

    All the while losing Feleti Mateo, Krisnan Inu, Kris Keating and Jonathon Wright.

    They followed that up last season by grabbing Ben Roberts, Taulima Tautai, Sandow and the Tonga brothers, Willie and Esi.

    Who has been making these decisions?

    “Corey has all the attributes to have a successful career in the NRL,” coach Stuart said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

    “He is big and confident, has all the skills and has served a good apprenticeship under some pretty decent playmakers up in Brisbane.

    “We can’t wait to get him down here and make him a part of our team and culture.”

    The Eels were right to chase Papalii. The destructive forward is the kind of player that can help create the right kind of culture at a club.

    It is yet to be seen whether Norman is even capable of performing on a weekly basis.

    Now that Norman has turned his back on the Broncos, you have to wonder how many more games he will get under Griffin at Brisbane.

    With the side struggling and in the mix for free agent Josh Dugan, the Broncos are well within their rights to send Norman back to the Queensland Cup for the rest of the season.

    If the losses continue to pile up and Dugan is lured north, Norman may find himself playing lower grades for the remainder of 2013.

    Even if Dugan doesn’t sign with the Broncos, coach Griffin still may decide to banish the utility.

    Veteran Scott Prince is no certainty to see out 2013, after a slow start to the season at number six. But whether Griffin wants to play the Parramatta-bound Norman is up to Griffin and Griffin alone.

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