How Eels passed on signing a young Brad Fittler for $30,000
Paul Kent has lifted the lid on the Parramatta Eels passing up the opportunity to sign Brad Fittler on what would have been a cut price deal early in his brilliant career.
Kent was an aspiring player at Parramatta at the time that Brad Fittler was starting to come through the ranks and he used to get a lift to training with Eels coaches John Monie and Peter Louis.
"When I was a young guy playing footy I used to drive to training with John Monie and Peter Louis, who were the Parramatta coaches at the time," Kent said on Triple M.
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"We were in the car one day driving and they used to just talk and I would sit in the back and shut up and listen.
"They were talking about this young player that Brad Levy the development officer at the time wanted to sign and he wanted to pay $30,000 for him, which at the time was the bottom end of first grade money.
"This player was 17 at the time and I remember Monie saying you can't pay that for a kid. It's $30,000 you can't pay it. They had the discussion all the way to training.
"I knew who the young player was and it was Brad Fittler. It would have been the cheapest $30,000 Parramatta ever spent."
Kent likened the decision to the one the Cowboys made in letting Kalyn Ponga go to join the Knights on a big money deal as an 18-year-old.
"In the end we all know what Brad Fittler became and it would have been cheap as chips in hindsight.
"I dare say the Cowboys had a very similar discussion when they had this young kid called Ponga and decided what do we do here.
"It is easy to identify talent. It is difficult to justify the price and get the price right. In some respects when clubs pass on players it was the right decision at the time.
"But for every Kalyn Ponga and Brad Fittler you let go, you probably let go of four or five players that are playing State Cup."
Originally published as How Eels passed on signing a young Brad Fittler for $30,000