NRL Rd 2 - Titans v Eels
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Junior Paulo of the Eels takes on the defence during the round 2 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium on March 22, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The Parramatta Eels are reportedly edging closer to the re-signing of Junior Paulo.

The Eels have had something of a disastrous time on the contract front since November 1. While the club have managed to extend the contracts of Clint Gutherson and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, they have already lost Reed Mahoney (Canterbury Bulldogs), Isaiah Papali'i (Wests Tigers), Marata Niukore (New Zealand Warriors) and Ray Stone (The Dolphins).

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Reed Mahoney of the Eels celebrates after scoring a try during the round one NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium, on March 12, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Junior Paulo is the highest-profile player who remains off-contract at the end of the 2022 season, with the prop a representative player for the New South Wales Blues, and his engine producing enormous output over big minutes for the Eels at the back-end of the 2021 season.

Paulo has previously indicated he is set to test the open market, and while the Dolphins are believed to be chasing his signature hard, The Daily Telegraph's David Riccio told SEN Radio that the dialogue is positive.

“I don’t mind a punt, but I’m going to back the blue and gold to get it done,” Riccio said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“I don’t know given their history, but all indications are the dialogue is positive.

“It should be done by now, it really should be.”

JUNIOR PAULO
Prop
Eels
2021 SEASON AVG
124.5
All Run Metres
0.1
Tries
1.7
Tackle Breaks

The fact the deal should be done by now will worry Parramatta fans, particularly given their track record this off-season in retaining talent.

It's understood Paulo is chasing up to $800,000 per season on his next contract, a figure Parramatta may previously have not been able to match with their salary cap squeezed by trying to hang onto so many players.