Parramatta will rely on the old pairing of Daniel Mortimer and Jeff Robson after negotiations with veteran halfback Matt Orford were terminated.
Talks between Parramatta management and Orford were formally closed last Friday.
It would appear Canberra are now in the box seat to snare Orford. The Raiders are desperate to sign the former premiership-winning No. 7 as a replacement for injured skipper Terry Campese.
But in a further twist, it has been reported that Orford is considering sitting out the 2011 season and possibly playing with the Central Coast Bears in an expanded competition in 2012.
While the Eels were unwilling to wait any longer for a decision from Orford, as he strives to gain a release from Bradford, it is believed that instability at the Parramatta club over the past 18 months contributed to the 32-year-old’s reluctance to sign on the dotted line.