It is fair to say that Parramatta Eels fans have experienced more heartache than most in the past few seasons.
This includes three wooden spoons since 2012 as well as having to endure the repercussions of the now infamous salary cap scandal that led to the club being docked 12 competition points and fined $1 million by the NRL.
However, since the appointment of Brad Arthur as head coach, performances have been on a steady incline at Parramatta, barring the unexpected train wreck that was the 2018 season. This upturn in performances has led to Arthur attracting and assembling a top eight quality squad, but inept talent identification and salary cap management throughout the years has led to the Eels losing some serious star power that Brad Arthur and previous Eels coaches would no doubt have loved to have at their disposal in the recent trying times.
Here are the top 10 players the Eels have let go, not re-signed or released since 2000.
10. Joe Galuvao
Joe Galuvao did his best throughout his career to put to bed the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. After coming through the junior ranks as a pacey fullback at the Warriors, Galuvao crossed the ditch to join Penrith, where he was a member of the Panthers renowned “Hair Bears” and was nominated as one of the premier second-rowers in the game in 2003.
After a short stint at the Rabbitohs from 2006-2007, Galuvao moved back to the West and signed a two-year deal with Parramatta beginning in 2008. After a slow 2008 dogged by injury, Galuvao returned to his best in 2009, leading from the front as a part of Parramatta’s middle third rotation featuring fellow bruisers Fuifui Moimoi and skipper Nathan Cayless.
Galuvao’s consistent go-forward and bruising tackling style helped propel Parramatta to the Grand Final in 2009, before eventually going down to the Melbourne Storm, who were later stripped of the title due to salary cap cheating.
Nearing 30 and with his best football seemingly behind him, the Eels did not place Galuvao as a priority re-signing. Leading to the South Auckland junior being eventually snapped up by the Sea Eagles on a three-year deal.
Over the following three-years, Galuvao’s stock would skyrocket after transitioning into a starting prop, helping his Sea Eagles to three consecutive top-eight finishes (two of which were in the top four) and one premiership, with Galuvao being lauded for his workmanlike performances in the middle and ability to gain metres post-contact.
Unfortunately, Parramatta’s trajectory went the complete opposite way to Galuvao’s following his departure, finishing 12th, 14th and last respectively. While he was at the end of his career, Galuvao’s no-nonsense style of play and leadership qualities could have no doubt helped the Eels in their attempt to become a consistent top-eight side in the late 2000s.