MACKAY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dylan Edwards of the Panthers is tackled by Marata Niukore of the Eels during the NRL Semifinal match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at BB Print Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Eels forward Marata Niukore is understood to be engaged in discussions with rival clubs ahead of the November 1 deadline.

The 25-year-old joins Clinton Gutherson, Jakob ArthurHaze DunsterWiremu GreigOregon KaufusiReed MahoneyRyan Matterson, Tom OpacicIsaiah Papali'iJunior Paulo and Hayze Perham among those contracted until the end of next season, while Dylan Brown holds a player-option in his favour for 2023.

Niukore has previously gained interest from circling clubs, while the likes of Gutherson Mahoney, Paulo and Matterson will be on the radar of rivals.

Eels coach Brad Arthur will be hoping to see out a strong season of retentions between now and the beginning of next season, leaving any speculation surrounding the futures of star names sorted prior to Round 1.

MACKAY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Ray Stone of the Eels looks dejected after the NRL Semifinal match between Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels at BB Print Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

It is unlikely Parramatta will be able to retain all of their off-contract players from November 1, with Niukore the first to be opening talks with rivals.

As reported by Triple M's Brent Read, players and interested suitors have avoided crossing any lines that would be deemed a breach of policy of the NRL's transfer guidelines, with Niukore one example.

Marata Niukore the back-rower is one of those November 1 guys and he has already had a couple of chats with a couple of clubs," Read said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: Marata Niukore of the Eels makes a break during the round 6 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on April 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“So Marata Niukore is doing the rounds and that is just a snapshot of what Parramatta are going to face over the next six weeks or so.

“I’d imagine there are a handful of players at that club who rival teams are keen to talk to.

“We all talk about November 1, but you can talk to players any time you want. You just can’t table a deal until November 1 and put a deal in front of them.

“So while we talk about that November 1 cut-off date being a free for all, there are clubs actually talking to players now and we have seen that with Niukore last week.”

Niukore played 2021 games for the Eels in 2021, featuring at centre for his first eight appearances of the season before moving into roles at prop, second-row and from the interchange.

The Cook Islands international is set to miss the opening match of the 2022 season after being served a one-game suspension for a high tackle in his side's semi-final loss to Penrith.