Corey Norman is apparently going to slip away fromParramatta and the bottom dwelling Eels to sign on with the St. GeorgeIllawarra Dragons for the next three years.
Instead of being eight spots out of finals, he will be just three, as the Knights finished the Telstra 2018 NRL Premiership competition on the 11th rung and they could play finals in 2019 if they can find 12 points, which is what would have been needed in 2018 to achieve the top eight.
It is considered a coup for the Big Red V to lure Norman away, but if he were the playmaker he needed to be, he would have been making more plays to help the Parramatta cause.
Norman will share playmaking responsibilities with Ben Hund and Gareth Widdop and the expectation is that he will play fullback or five-eighth, which immediately raises questions as to the fate of Matt Duggy, the current no. 1 at St. George.
Norman’s first test will be a challenge, as the Knights first round opponent is the Cronulla Sharks.
Norman had languished a bit at Parramatta, to the extent that Eels’ coach Brad Arthur and manager of recruitment Peter Sharp are strong advocates of Norman and are happy to see the 27-year-old off to a better opportunity.
He might see more time, as well, as Widdop might have a date with the UK Super League in 2020.
Widdop has committed to the Dragons for the upcoming season, but he is a native of England and might prefer to play out his days in the motherland.
The Dragons had also tried to get their hooks on Jarryd Hayne, but that went nowhere, as Hayne has strong ties to Parramatta and would not want to leave after a successful escape from Gold Coast.
Parramatta as an organization has some beef with Norman over Norman’s breach notice or drinking while injured in August of 2018. Is it a case of political correctness run amok when a rugby player can run afoul of the authorities for drinking? It was beer, hopefully, as beer and rugby go together like bangers and mash.