Norman’s $3 million Parramatta gamble
Parramatta star Corey Norman rejected a huge $3 million offer to switch to the UK Super League to stay and fight for his place at the struggling Parramatta Eels.
Norman knocked back a four-year contract worth around $615,000 a season to play for Huddersfield, who wanted him to fill a marquee spot.
Add to that a negotiated settlement from Parramatta worth a possible $600,000 and Norman could have pocketed a cool $3 million.
But despite being off contract after next season and remaining unsigned for 2020, Norman elected to stay with the wooden-spooners.
It was a massive gamble for Norman, who just last year was being shopped around by Parramatta.
The star halfback had been heavily criticised for performances many believe don't fit the money the Eels are paying him, which is thought to be between $800,000 and $900,000 a season.
"All the indications are that he has taken up the fight and the challenge," Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
"It's not so much about proving the doubters wrong, he wants to make sure he gets it right for his teammates.
"Corey still has plenty to offer this competition - that's the attitude he's got.
"He wants to get it right, he knows he's a footballer."
Reminded that Norman had knocked back big money from Huddersfield, Arthur said: "He did, especially when he was at the crossroads.
"I can only see that as positive, that he still backs himself.
"It's a known fact Corey likes playing for our club and he has expressed his desire to want to stay.
"All the evidence at the moment is that he's committed to having a big season for his teammates."
Norman also wanted to stay in Australia because his family is based in Brisbane and he is involved in shirt business YKTR with fellow NRL players Issac John and James Segeyaro.
But he will have a battle on his hands to win another contract at Parramatta.
The club has two young emerging halves in Jaeman Salmon and Dylan Brown, with the latter being linked with the Warriors as a replacement for Shaun Johnson.
Norman's halves partner Mitchell Moses is also off contract after next season.
Whether one or both are re-signed will depend on their early form next year.
Parramatta have 16 players off contract after next season.
"It's a big year for everyone involved, for all of us," Arthur said. "We all have to prove ourselves.
"We need to bite down on the bit and work hard. We worked hard last season but we've got to work hard together.
"There's not one person that can solve it and do it on their own. We've got to come together. We didn't get it right last season but we need to get it right next season. It's that simple."
Arthur has been delighted with Norman's efforts in off-season training.