Eels have high hopes of holding on to Blaize Talagi

George Clarke |

Parramatta are confident of being able to hold on to talented teenager Blaize Talagi.
Parramatta are confident of being able to hold on to talented teenager Blaize Talagi.

Parramatta remain confident of retaining talented teenager Blaize Talagi and ensuring Zac Lomax is at the club next season as they hunt for a replacement for axed coach Brad Arthur.

Talagi, 19, failed to take up an option of a contract extension with the Eels earlier this year, highlighting concerns about the club’s ability to hold on to their best emerging talent.

Schoolboy halfback sensation Ethan Sanders has already agreed to head to Canberra for next season.

Before his axing Arthur was insistent that Talagi would play a big role in Parramatta’s future.

Arthur was understood to have butted heads with Talagi’s agent Isaac Moses in the past.

But club chairman Sean McElduff said on Tuesday they expected the versatile outside back to commit to the Eels.

“We’re in conversations with his manager, at this point in time it’s with Isaac and his team,” McElduff said.

“Blaize is a Parra kid who has come through all our pathways, his family are connected to the club.

“I feel like he’s going to stay.

“Blaize is a Parra kid and, as I say, I expect him to be at this club (but) that’s up to his manager and his family.”

Meanwhile, the Eels will move to contact Zac Lomax to reassure him that he remains in the club’s plans next year.

Zac Lomax.
The Eels say Zac Lomax remains a big part of the club’s plans for next year. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

The St George Illawarra outside back had agreed to a four-season deal with the Eels from 2025 after being personally wined and dined by Arthur.

Lomax wanted a clause in his contract that would allow him to explore his options should Arthur be sacked, which the Eels rejected.

“Our focus obviously over the last little while has been having a conversation with the players that are in the building,” said Eels chief executive Jim Sarantinos.

“But absolutely, we’ll be having a conversation with Zac.

“I think we’ve said on the record previously that that clause was requested, but it wasn’t agreed to.

“None of our players have any clauses of that nature in their contract, that’s not how we operate.”

AAP