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Some believed he was unhappy with the original contract he signed, especially after he was one of the Tigers’ best last season and went close to an Origin debut.

Others believed he had lost faith in the playing group, while there was also the testy relationship with Maguire, which included a decent spray in front of his peers after a loss to Canterbury late in the season.

Club favourite Robbie Farah did not miss Matterson when he told an podcast at the time of the split: “I love Matto, he’s a great guy. [But] the way it has been handled, it’s been quite poor from him and his management.

“He’s probably worth more than he is on. But you signed a contract. Honour your contract.”

Tigers halfback Luke Brooks told the Herald on Monday Matterson still had friends at the club, including prop Alex Twal, but it would be interesting when the two teams clashed on Easter Monday.

“You know it’s a business now, players come and go every year – it’s happened a fair bit at this club, so I’m used to it,” Brooks said.

Matterson, who was originally at the Eels as a playmaker and released once Kieran Foran signed a few years ago, said: “There were personal reasons for leaving [the Tigers] and I’d like to respect that.

“But I did give my all in 2019 in every single game, and to all the fans out there I’m sorry with how it happened. I wish them all the best.”

Matterson said his relationship with Maguire was ”good” and the coach had wished him all the best when he left.

As for the money issue, Matterson said: “I was frustrated when it was perceived to be about money. That wasn’t the case.

“When people want to make up rumours about things, I can’t control that.

“Luke Brooks got player of the year, [so if anything] he was entitled to most of the money.

“I don’t sign contracts to purposely want to leave. Something did happen at the Tigers, I’m sorry it happened, and with Parramatta I want to stay here permanently and for the long term and enjoy my football.”

Matterson said while Farah was entitled to his opinion, ”I respect him as a bloke, and I think most of that chat was happening when I had already left”.

“I haven’t seen or spoken to him since,” Matterson said.

Matterson said the Eels had come a long way since his first stint in the blue and gold.

“I sat down with BA [coach Brad Arthur], we had an honest chat, previously we’d been together, and from that chat I realised the club itself had grown massively, and there was a big opportunity for myself and the players here to create history, and I wanted to be on board with that,” he said.

Matterson’s departure has now paved the way for Michael Chee Kam and Luciano Leilua to slug it out for the No.12 jersey.

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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