Dogs steal Eels star in monster $2.4m raid

The Parramatta Eels have been dealt a massive blow by the side’s biggest rivals as another star has jumped ship on a big money deal.

In-demand hooker Reed Mahoney has finally made his call, turning his back on the Parramatta Eels to take up four-year deal with the Canterbury Bulldogs. and Channel 7 rugby league reporter Michelle Bishop broke the news on Thursday, revealing the Eels rake had taken up a deal with the Dogs, who are continuing their recruitment blitz that has already seen them scoop up the signatures of Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Tevita Pangai Jr, Paul Vaughan and Viliame Kikau.

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Mahoney, who narrowly missed out on a Maroons jersey in 2021 after a shoulder injury cruelled his Origin chances, reportedly told the Eels and coach Brad Arthur he was leaving at the end of the 2022 season.

Earlier on Thursday, revealed the Eels had upped their offer from about $450,000 a season to a three-year deal worth $500,000 each year, but the Bulldogs trumped them with a four-year, $2.4 million proposal.

Mahoney previously played junior football for Canterbury before being released because he was not seen as a first grade prospect for the club under the previous management.

While the Broncos and Dolphins were reportedly sniffing around the talented hooker, the Bulldogs were the ones who got their man.

Mahoney has played 73 games for the Eels since making his NRL debut in 2018.

While the Eels have re-signed captain Clint Gutherson and prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard, the side has been leaking talent as Isaiah Papali’i and Marata Niukore decided their futures lay elsewhere as well.

Parramatta still have a host of players off contract and available to talk to other teams.

The Eels released a statement this month taking aim at media speculation over the futures of their off-contract stars but after recent departures, The Australian’s Brent Read told Triple M’s Rush Hour on Thursday “all the pressure is on (the Eels)”.

“Parramatta has lost all control of this landscape, they just need to sign someone,” Read said.

He added the Eels back-row — which has featured Papali’i, Niukore and the out of favour Ryan Matterson — will need to be rebuilt.

Penrith legend Mark Geyer said the Eels’ premiership window was rapidly closing.

“I think the Parramatta window of opportunity is next year,” he said. “I think once 2022 goes, they’re starting a rebuild.”

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