Simonsson wants Eels centre spot amid Lomax interest

Scott Bailey |

Bailey Simonsson is keen to nail down a starting spot at left centre for Parramatta this season.
Bailey Simonsson is keen to nail down a starting spot at left centre for Parramatta this season.

Off-contract Eel Bailey Simonsson wants to lock down Parramatta’s left centre spot, as the club bides its time on a potential play for St George Illawarra star Zac Lomax.

Contracted to the Dragons until the end of 2026, Lomax is unhappy with coach Shane Flanagan’s decision to start him on the wing this season.

That has prompted rival clubs to enquire about Lomax’s future, with the Eels heavily linked to the 24-year-old.

Lomax has been told by Dragons officials he does not have permission to negotiate with other clubs, and cannot do so under NRL rules until November 2025.

Zac Lomax (centre) of the Dragons in action against Gold Coast.
Unsettled St George Illawarra star Zac Lomax (centre) is attracting interest across the NRL. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

Parramatta star Mitch Moses suggested on Tuesday Lomax would be welcome in Eels colours, if the Dragons’ stance softens.

“He’s a fair player, a good player,” Moses said.

“But that’s up to Parramatta (bosses) and what they do, I don’t go and sign players.”

If the Eels were to land Lomax as Will Penisini’s centres partner, it would prompt a backline reshuffle.

Lomax is known to prefer the right centre position, and was unhappy at being shifted to the left by former Dragons coach Anthony Griffin last year.

Penisini currently plays on the right for the Eels, and has formed a lethal combination with Moses and Bryce Cartwright on that edge.

It would mean one of the pair would have to shift to the left side to accommodate playing together.

But Simonsson is keen to lock down the left centre role at Parramatta long term, although the 26-year-old has been moved to left wing during Maika Sivo’s current suspension.

“I’d love to,” Simonsson said when asked about playing left centre. 

“At the moment I’m doing a job on the wing, but if I get moved back to centre then I’ll do my best there. 

“All you can do is your best, and the rest is in the club’s control with people higher up than me. 

“No point stressing out over things you can’t control.”

Simonsson said he was yet to begin talks with Parramatta about a new deal, after signing a one-year extension last season.

“I love being at Parra. I’ve enjoyed my time here so I’d like to stay,” he said. 

“Those things aren’t always in your control so we’ve got to see what happens.

“Every year you’re trying to play your best, but when you’re off contract it’s always a bit of a challenging time so you try to play good footy to secure your future.”

Parramatta also have outside backs Morgan Harper and Haze Dunster off contract this year, while Sean Russell is locked in until the end of 2025.

AAP