Eels amp up mission to secure club’s future
PARRAMATTA remain confident of retaining young gun Dylan Brown despite speculation the five-eighth is currently meeting with rival NRL clubs.
Brown is among a handful of players currently in discussions with the club on possible extensions, including hooker Reed Mahoney.
Veteran centre Michael Jennings is also expected to sign on a one-year deal, including a player option for a second, when he returns from leave.
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However Brown is considered the top priority for club management, who have already tabled the 19-year-old with a multi-year deal.
The negotiations are the first real test for new chief executive Jim Sarantinos, who was promoted from chief operating officer earlier this month.
Already the Eels have been criticised for letting highly-rated youngster Stefano Utoikaman sign with Wests Tigers on a three-year deal beginning in 2021.
Utoikaman is understood to have asked for a release from the final year of his current contract, which the Eels denied.
Sarantinos is optimistic of ensuring other young talent won't be lured away.
"(Dylan's) obviously a high priority for the club, but guys like Dylan and Reed and all our strong young talent, they're a part of our future," Sarantinos said.
The promise that Brown displayed last season should hold plenty of appeal for a number of clubs that could be in the hunt for a playmaker in 2021.
The likes of Cronulla, Canterbury, Gold Coast, Newcastle, the Warriors and Wests Tigers could all be in contention for the Auckland-born product.
Brown drew plenty of headlines ahead of his NRL debut when he was offered a mammoth six-year deal by the Warriors earlier this year.