Campbell-Gillard to join Parramatta

Reagan Campbell-Gillard has agreed to join the Parramatta Eels.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard has agreed to join the Parramatta Eels.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard has become the latest Penrith player on a long-term deal to leave the club after officially joining Parramatta on Saturday.

The Panthers confirmed Campbell-Gillard was released to join the Eels having not even entered the first season of a five-year extension set to begin in 2020.

He will instead be at Parramatta until the end of the 2024 season.

"We're continuing to build our roster and the addition of Reagan, a representative forward, is a great fit for our team," Eels general manager Mark O'Neill said.

Campbell-Gillard joins a growing list of Panthers that have left the club despite re-signing on long-term deals under former boss Phil Gould.

New coach Ivan Cleary has also allowed Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Waqa Blake to depart mid-season, despite having multiple years left to serve.

Veteran five-eighth James Maloney is another who has exited with one season left on his deal after agreeing to terms with Super League club Catalans Dragons.

The 26-year-old Campbell-Gillard leaves after 114 games in his five seasons at the club, and having also played five Tests for Australia.

He also played his one State of Origin game for NSW last year, but has struggled to regain peak form under Cleary this year.

Panthers general manager Matt Cameron said it was the Eels who initiated talks on acquiring Campbell-Gillard before coming to a mutual agreement on a release.

He claimed the decision to let the local junior walk alleviated salary cap pressure.

"The decision to grant this release was not taken lightly," Cameron said.

"Management of the club's salary cap is a detailed and complex exercise that at times requires difficult decisions to be made to ensure sustainability.

"While it is always disappointing to see local juniors leave Panthers, this outcome provides our club with crucial salary cap flexibility not only next year but also in future years."

Australian Associated Press