SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Clint Gutherson of the Eels on his way to a try during the round eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Parramatta Eels at Stadium Australia, on May 01, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The Parramatta Eels are reportedly beginning to sort out their contract situation for 2023.

It has previously been reported that the blue and gold would face something of a contract crunch heading into the 2023 season, with plenty of off-contract stars likely to be in line for upgrades.

The full list of off-contract players for 2022 is Jakob Arthur, Haze Dunster, Wiremu Greig, Clint Gutherson, Oregon Kaufusi, Reed Mahoney, Ryan Matterson, Marata Niukore, Tom Opacic, Isaiah Papali'i, Junior Paulo, Hayze Perham, Maika Sivo and Ray Stone.

It's a long list with plenty of stars, and given the reported position of players like Gutherson, Papali'i and Matterson, all of whom will be after more money, the Eels may have to pick and choose who they hang on to.

The Australian's Brent Read told Triple M Radio on Monday afternoon that it will start with the captain and coach in Gutherson and Brad Arthur before things progress. That comes despite the conjecture surrounding Arthur's position at the club through the second half of this season.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Eels coach Brad Arthur speaks at the post match media conference at the end of the round 10 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium on May 18, 2019 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

“They switch into retention mode and they’ve got some priorities to lock away,” Read said.

“I think it starts with Brad and Gutho, the coach and captain, and then it moves onto some of those other players."

Read said it would likely not be possible to keep all the off-contract names though.

“I don’t think they’ll keep them all, I don’t think it’s possible," Read said.

“A guy like Nuikore, I know they want to keep him but there are some clubs circling him with some big-money offers.

Ryan Matterson didn’t play one of the finals and was off the bench for another, I think he’s a player that potential could find a home elsewhere, if not next season then certainly when he comes off contract the year after.

“I think it’s going to be difficult for them to keep them all but I’ve got to say there’s a determination amongst that group of players to stay together because they can see how close they are to potentially ending one of the sport’s most celebrated droughts.

“So I don’t think we’ll see a lot of movement, I think a lot of those guys will stay, most of them will stay, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to keep them all.”

The buy of the year, Isaiah Papali'i, who is currently on a reported figure of $150,000, will possibly be in line for the biggest upgrade though.

ISAIAH PAPALI'I
Lock
Eels
2021 SEASON AVG
1.2
Offloads
0.3
Tries
0.1
Try Assists

He has turned himself into the player most likely to end up with the second-rower of the year gong at the Dally M awards next Monday, however, the Eels said he could be the highest priority behind Arthur and Gutherson.

“But certainly Papali’i, he’s on bugger all at the moment and they want to keep him. He’s a real priority so they’re going to have to pay him a bit more than what he’s on now, but he won’t be going anywhere I’d imagine," Read said.