Matterson: I had to walk from Wests Tigers
RYAN Matterson has responded to those critics - including Wests Tigers great Robbie Farah - who slammed his decision to quit the joint-venture club, stressing: "I don't sign contracts to leave … something did happen there".
Speaking for the first time since his controversial Tigers walkout, 25-year-old Matterson defended the decision to be released two years early for what he would only say was a "personal" situation.
While the new Parramatta recruit drew heavy criticism from fans, commentators, even former teammates - with Farah describing the move as "poor" - Matterson was adamant he had no other choice.
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The NSW Origin hopeful also rejected suggestions his reputation had taken a hit, despite having now walked out early on three NRL contracts, and also strenuously denied whispers that his move to the Eels was motivated by money
"I don't sign contracts to purposely want to leave," insisted Matterson, whose new three-year Eels deal is reportedly worth $1.5 million.
"Something did happen at the Tigers and I'm sorry it happened. But it's a personal matter between myself and the club and I'm going to respect that, hold my side of the bargain.
"What I will say though is that in 2019, I gave my all to the Tigers in every single game. And to their fans, I'm sorry about how it happened.
"I understand their frustrations because I was frustrated myself. I signed wanting to hold onto that contract. But it was out of my control. So now I wish them all the best and I'm moving on.
"Signing with Parramatta, I want to stay here permanently, enjoy my football and get back to loving life."
Matterson refused to be drawn on suggestions he fell out with Tigers coach Michael Maguire, or that a spray from the coach late in the season proved the final straw.
"That's not really what happened," the forward continued. "As I said it's personal … but (when I left) our relationship was good.
"I wished him all the best for the new year and he did the same."
On Farah's comments, he added: "I heard about them in passing.
"That's his opinion. I respect him as a bloke. Most of his chat was happening after I left. I haven't seen or spoken to him since."
Matterson is ready for some stability after a bizarre range of circumstances had seen him walk away from three NRL contracts - having also previously ended deals early with both the Roosters and Parramatta.
In 2015, and after extending at the Eels for three years as an aspiring playmaker, Matterson was then forced to seek a release when the club signed Kieran Foran.
Then in 2018, he also requested a release from the Roosters side with whom he would eventually claim an NRL premiership after the Tricolours pinched NSW Origin forward Angus Crichton.
Asked if his reputation had taken a hit, the devout Christian continued: "Not really.
"Obviously it isn't an ideal situation.
"I was frustrated when (the move from Wests Tigers) was perceived about being over money - because it wasn't. But when people want to make rumours about things, I can't control that.
"Everyone has obstacles and hurdles, and I leave mine to my faith and knowing God will get me there."