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Parramatta has earmarked former Newcastle utility Sean Rudder as a possible playmaking option if they are unsuccessful in luring Brett Finch to the club next season.
Rudder, who partnered Andrew Johns at the scrumbase during the Knights' 2001 premiership victory, is hoping to re-establish himself in the NRL when his contract with Super League club Les Catalans expires at the end of the season. The Eels are looking for a five-eighth after the loss of Wests Tigers-bound utility John Morris next season, with Finch their prime target after the Sydney Roosters gave him permission to negotiate with rival clubs.
However, Rudder is seen as a possible fallback option due to his experience and utility value.
At the Roosters, captain Craig Fitzgibbon says he feels sorry for Brett Finch following the club's decision to try and offload the troubled playmaker. Finch is contracted to the Roosters until 2007, but is unlikely to remain at Bondi Junction next season.
Fitzgibbon says he admires Finch's resilience and expects the NSW half to be a key player for the Roosters for the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, Wests Tigers have tabled a two-year deal to Cronulla prop Richard Villasanti in the hope of luring him to the premiers. Villasanti, a former Kangaroo representative, has also received interest from English side Hull and the Sharks, although the Tigers are favoured to snare his signature.