Brett Finch Parramatta EelsThe Parramatta Eels have today granted former halfback Brett Finch an unconditional release from his contract with the club, allowing the player to join a rival NRL team should he wish to do so.

Brett Finch’s agent is currently working overtime to see if the halfback is wanted somewhere locally, however the feeling is that Finch’s chances and paypacket would be much more lucrative should he look at overseas options.

It seems Finch would be happy to take up a short term NRL deal to finish the remainder of the 2009 season, then slot into a UK Super League side where conditions would be much more favourable for the 27 year old former Canberra, Roosters and Parramatta half.

There does seem to be interest locally, with the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers believed to be seriously considering the services of the experienced half back. Slotting Finch in a pivot would really assist the Storm as they stand at present, however salary cap dollars would be the issue. The Panthers do have some money to burn, but with Wade Graham seemingly the future at no.6, does the club need another no.7 to join Jarrod Sammut and Luke Walsh already in the mix?

While Finch received a small payout from the Eels, his immediate focus will be to replace the lost earnings from his potential $1million that was to come over the next 2.5 years.

Player agent for Finch, Steve Gillis confirmed what a big decision it was to walk away from the Eels.

“Brett is gambling with his future,” said Gillis.

“We are looking at overseas as a genuine option because it is more likely to be long term employment for him.

“Here a few of the clubs are looking at short term contracts for him for this year. I’m not sure how many will look this year and beyond.

Finch’s manager confirmed that if his player was to take up an option in the NRL, it’s amost certain that it would be at reduced rates – given the late entry into the market, with clubs already having salary caps maxed out.

The flipside to playing for low wages, is that Finch can single out an interested club that has genuine NRL winning potential. So he might have a chance to win an NRL championship ring before he seals his future in the UK Super League.

Finch’s manager is confident some agreement can be reached within a week, suggesting that interest parties have already made contact.

Such was the speed at which the Eels and Finch parted ways, that even the quietly spoken Peter Sterling felt compelled to comment today – fearing his club has serious issues. Sterling confirming he was ‘disturbed’ by the fact that the Eels and their best playmaker were parting ways – only 4 weeks into a new season.

The Eels face the in-form Dragons tomorrow night at Parramatta Stadium, so the mountain they are climbing just got much, much bigger.

By ricky

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