5 hours ago
Tim Smith released by Eels
Parramatta have granted embattled halfback Tim Smith a release from the final two years of his playing contract.
Smith sought indefinite leave from the club last Monday to overcome his battle with bipolar disorder and returned to his family on the Gold Coast.
The 23-year-old had been contracted to the club until 2009.
Eels chief executive Denis Fitzgerald confirmed Smith had been released from his deal after negotiations between the club and Smith's manager David Riolo.
Fitzgerald said the release means the young player can now focus fully on his recovery from mental illness.
"The past six months have been a difficult time for Tim and his family, but now with the release from his playing contract he will be able to devote one hundred per cent of his energies to controlling the disorder without the pressures of being an NRL player in the media spotlight," Fitzgerald said.
Riolo said Smith was appreciative of the support he had received from the club during his career.
"Tim's recovery is an ongoing thing, needless to say it's been a difficult time for everyone so this resolution is appreciated," Riolo said.
"It's positive for both parties in that at least now everyone can move forward, the club has been very supportive and Tim certainly appreciates that."
Smith's release is set to help the Eels retain off-contract star Brett Finch.
Finch initially joined the club last year to play outside of Smith, but has stepped into the No.7 jersey in the young playmaker's absence.
Eels management have confirmed they will now turn their attention to retaining Finch.