Parramatta will take their fight for Josh Papalii to the courts after the promising forward agreed to terms on a three-year contract to remain in the nation's capital.
Despite signing a contract with the Eels, Papalii has agreed to terms on a $1.3 million deal with the Raiders, exercising a right which allows the holding club up until round 13 to re-sign players.
"Over the past couple of weeks I've spent a lot of time talking with my family about this decision and I'm comfortable that it's the best thing for me, my career and my family," Papalii said. "It's been a really tough decision to make, but in the end I had to do what was right for my family and I know I've done that.
"The Raiders have given me the chance to start my NRL career and I've made a home in Canberra for myself and my family," he said.
Fairfax Media has been told that the Eels will take legal action to ensure Papalii honours his original commitment to them.
"A contract is a contract - we won't be letting him go without a fight," a source said.
Raiders CEO Don Furner said the club were ready to move on and let Papalii continue with his career.
"Josh is an important member of our club, he's come through our junior development system and it's important for us to retain as many of our talented juniors as we can," Furner said. "We've agreed to terms with him for a further three seasons and we're excited about his future at this club.
Eels Chief Executive Ken Edwards expressed disappointment at the decision, "The Eels today received notification from the management of Josh Papalii that despite signing a 3-year contract with the club commencing in 2014, he will remain at the Canberra Raiders."
“To say we are disappointed by Josh’s decision to not see through his verbal and written agreements to join the Eels next season is an understatement. We are building something special here and we are only interested in people who are strong and committed joining this organisation.”
Earlier on Friday, Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart was confident he had landed his first big-name signing for the club.
"I'm not nervous because he signed a legal document in front of his mother, in front of his manager and with our recruitment manager Peter Nolan," Stuart said.
"No I'm not nervous. I'm very excited by the signing. He's going to be a great asset. I know there's been a lot of pressure on him which is unfair because he signed a legal document and he was happy.
"I think it puts too much pressure on players to make decisions too soon. I think it's a rule that we can certainly look at. But that's what we have to deal with at the moment. They are the guidelines and have done everything sound in regards to signing Josh and as a club we're very excited about that signing. It's black and white, he signed a legal document."