THE NRL is to investigate fresh allegations of undisclosed third-party payments made to Parramatta players.
Head of integrity Nick Weeks said on Friday salary cap auditors would look into claims reported in Fairfax Media.
“We have already shown that we are prepared to take a hard line against breaches and these allegations will be investigated by the salary cap auditors,” Weeks said in a statement.
Fairfax Media reported that Eddie Obeid jnr, the son of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, admitted to assisting financially troubled star Chris Sandow, offering real estate advice to Will Hopoate and providing a discounted apartment to prop Darcy Lussick.
There is no suggestion any of the Eels players knowingly breached the salary cap.
NRL head of integrity Nick Weekes with Dave Smith.Source: News Corp Australia
Lussick scoffed at claims there was anything sinister in his ownership of the apartment in Top Ryde, describing the allegations as “old news”.
“They’re just bringing up old things,” Lussick said.
“They tried to bring it out as some big exclusive last year, and nothing happened from it.
“My manager handles all my properties and I have 110 per cent faith in it.
“I know 110 per cent I’ve done everything right and I’ve got the paperwork to back it up.”
Earlier this month, the club was hit with a reduced $465,000 fine for overspending in four of the game’s salary cap categories last season.
The Eels also face the loss of four competition points in 2016 unless they undertake an independent governance review.
The NRL said Parramatta would be hit with more penalties should they be found guilty of more breaches.
“If these allegations are confirmed, then the NRL will take appropriate action to ensure the integrity of the competition,” Weeks said.
Captain Tim Mannah brushed off the latest revelations.
“If you zoom out and have a look at it for what it is, a lot of it’s happened from things that have happened years ago,” he said.
“It’s a shame that they’re coming back to bite us now, because where we are now for the past year or two, we’ve actually moved forward as a club. We’re heading in the right direction.”