It’s rather ironic Brad Arthur’s Eels next game against South Sydney is on Friday the 13th.
Arthur sure doesn’t need any bad luck after an extraordinary week where NRL boss Todd Greenberg dropped a bucket of penalties on the club over salary cap breaches last Tuesday, and virtually backed off on Friday.
Friday the 13th became a bizarre addition to the equation.
Let’s turn the clock back to December 2013 when Ian Schubert, the NRL’s salary cap auditor, retired after 18 years in the vital role.
In November last year, the Parramatta Board appointed Schubert for 13 months to sort out the club’s salary cap problems. If anyone could come up with a solution, there was no-one better than Schubert.
He was to work in close association with football operations manager Daniel Anderson.
Parramatta chairman Steve Sharp said at the tine – “It’s a win-win situation for us because we get an education process and we get his expertise to help clarify and fix up what we’ve got to know”.
Was that an admission the Board wasn’t capable of working out the salary cap without Schubert’s assistance?
Fast forward to last week, and not even guru Schubert was able to fix the salary cap rort.
What’s even more pertinent, Anderson was one of five Greenberg wanted to de-register along with Sharp, two other directors Tom Issa and Peter Serrao, plus CEO John Boulous for their part in the breach.
Greenberg added the club was to have their 12 hard-earned competition points docked, and the club must lose $570,00 to get under the cap before the Eels could earn any more points.
Greenberg went even further saying the quintet had to step down and ride into the rugby league sunset before the club could again be a points winner.
Greenberg was universally praised for taking a strong stance against the five cap rorters, while leaving the door open for the Eels to be an integral part of the NRL competition.
But the quintet took the NRL to the Supreme Court claiming the governing body’s edict stopped Parramatta staff from doing their job under the Corporations Act.
Last Friday, Greenberg dramatically changed the game plan by allowing the rorting five a month to get their act together to lose $570,000 to get under the cap, adding the Eels will be playing for competition points on Friday the 13th.
But the NRL ladder still shows the Eels in fourth place on 12 points, and not in 16th on zero.
Greenberg’s incredible back-flip has changed all the dynamics of Parramatta rorting the salary cap.
So don’t be surprised if the five Greenberg wanted to de-registered stay in place, and don’t be surprised if the Eels are docked less than 12 points.
What was so clear-cut last Tuesday has become an unholy mess.
And Todd Greenberg is entirely to blame in an out-of-character Friday.