This time last year Ryan Matterson was one of the game's top-level second-rowers. I may cop some blowback for this but he was riding high on the back of a second-straight massive season.
Unfortunately, his 2021 probably didn't live up to the expectations set by his previous two campaigns.
Injury and circumstances didn't help, but Matterson seemed just a step behind his former self.
Rumours have surfaced that the Eels are unwilling to offer Matterson an extension on his current deal. Given Parramatta's current salary cap setup, Matterson seems to have been ruled as surplus to requirements.
The fact that Matterson hasn't been re-signed, despite a mountain of transfer movements in Eels colours, suggests perhaps there is something to those reports.
Either way, as it stands right now, he is off-contract at the end of 2022 and other clubs can talk to him.
I have no doubt in the world that he will be picked up. I expect multiple clubs to express interest.
Below are the five clubs I believe will leave that chase and provide his eventual landing spot:
1. The Dolphins
Truthfully I'm shocked he hasn't been signed already to partner Kaufusi in the second row.
A Kaufusi/Matterson back row sets the tone. Two experienced players capable of both tackling themselves to a standstill as well as a game-breaking offload or line break.
The Fins are yet to name a huge money name. This time last year I considered Matterson a huge money name. Not so much anymore, which plays further into Wayne Bennett's hands.
Matterson's main criticism seems to be that he sees himself as better than he is. Bennett may be the coach to sit Matterson down and set him straight.
A fully focused, and hopefully fit, Matterson presents an incredible option for the fledgling club.
The literal second the stories came out that the Eels are unlikely to offer Matterson a contract, I expected the Dolphins to pounce.