Eels sick of chasing after Orford; Canberra the front-runners

For several months now, Matt Orford has said that he is incredibly homesick, wants out of England and back in the NRL. First there were 2, now there seems to only be one team committed to getting him.

The Eels are reluctant to continue their chase for the former Dally M and premiership winning halfback, with their final decision to be made soon if they will continue or not.

Should the Eels pull out of the running for Orford, it leaves the Raiders as the only team chasing him, with the club willing to wait for Bradford’s decision to release him.

Bradford, who after all this time are still unsure if they will release Orford from the last 2 years of his contract with them are set to make a final decision shortly.

Eels CEO Paul Osborne is set to hold talks with coach Stephen Kearney as to whether or not he still has an interest in chasing Orford, or whether they should officially pull out.

It is believed that Kearney, who is fresh off leading NZ to a Four Nations win is keen on signing Matt Orford for a season or two.

Kearney, a former Storm player, played alongside Orford in 1999 when the Storm won the premiership for the first time in only their second year of competition.

“We haven’t heard anything and we’re going to make a decision on it over the next couple of days,” Osborne said.

“It’s dragged on long enough. Steve’s back on deck now so I’ll just see what he wants to do.”

The Raiders are a team desperate to find some cover in the halves given the long-term injury to their main playmaker and five-eighth, Terry Campese.

The Raiders, who were also linked with now retired halves Brett Kimmorley and Trent Barrett are hopeful that because former Raider Marc Herbert moved to the Bulls, that Orford will move the opposite way.

“We’re in the dark and we understand he hasn’t got a release yet and we can’t really do anything until he does get a release,” Raiders chief executive Don Furner said.

“I don’t know anything will be known for another week or so, but certainly if he does get a release we’ll try and get him.”

George Mimis, Orford’s manager, hasn’t heard any news in about three weeks, which only further complicates things, and brings about more frustration.

“There’s been no change and there’s been no communication from the club for three weeks, so unfortunately there’s nothing to report,” Mimis said.

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