Where to? Hayne was given his chance to prove that Parra mattered a year ago, but the club had the door slammed in their face. Photo: Dave HuntSo let’s get this straight. Jarryd Hayne leaves Parramatta to chase his American dream but says if he ever returns to the NRL, it will only be to the Eels.
He then breaks that promise and signs with the Titans, despite Parramatta offering him a contract that, in hindsight, looks generous.
Now things have gone sour on the Gold Coast and Parramatta are supposed to welcome him back with open arms? Not even in Hayne’s charmed world does that make sense. Sure, the romantics want to see the prodigal son return home, but that ship has sailed. Parramatta are not the club they were when Hayne left.
Hayne was given his chance to prove that Parra mattered a year ago, but the club had the door slammed in their face.
We’ve heard the whispers since. Fairfax Media reported earlier in the year that Hayne had put out the feelers about returning to the Eels when he was weighing up whether to take up the $1.2 million option to stay on the Gold Coast.
At the right price and if Hayne was coming over with the right mindset, the Eels would have contemplated it. But not now.
As the Titans are now realising, there’s a circus that comes with Hayne’s signature. It can be fun at first, but how many times can you watch the same clown routine without growing bored?
Parramatta are a club yearning for success. They don’t need negative headlines – they’ve had enough of them in the past few seasons to last a lifetime.
Now, Corey Norman would have been told what to say to reporters when he fronted to fulfil his media commitments on Monday.
Asked about the possibility of Hayne returning to the club, Norman said, “I’m happy with the team we’ve got here and I’m focused on the team we’ve got here”.
Hooker Cameron King followed the party line: “I think Bevan [French] is doing a pretty good job [at fullback] for us, so that’s all I’ll say about that”.
You can’t help but think those comments are a general reflection of Hayne’s current standing at the Eels, regardless of how much they like him as a bloke.
If you’d asked the players the same question 12 months ago, the answers would have been different. In fact, they were.
“That would be massive if Haynesy comes back,” Clint Gutherson said last year. There was no such excitement this time around.
When Ivan Cleary took over at Wests Tigers earlier this year, he said his coaching philosophy was that “the star of the team is the team”.
That’s the mentality Brad Arthur coaches with at the Eels. That is why when Gutherson, their best player this season, was ruled out through injury, the Eels were able to pick themselves up and continue their winning ways.
This isn’t personal. Arthur probably has a better relationship with Hayne than any of the coaches who have tried to crack the enigma that is J. Hayne. But Arthur has put too much into rebuilding this team to see it all go to waste for the sake of writing Hayne’s happily ever-after.
Hayne should be remembered as one of the most brilliant footballers to lace on a boot in this country. Truth is, the longer the circus continues the less likely he will be remembered for his football at all.