ON THE surface, if Jarryd Hayne returns to the NRL and re-signs with the Eels, he has rocks in his head.
It would be akin to admitting himself to an asylum.
But then Hayne has always been someone to walk to the beat of his own drum.
While no doubt in essence a team man, such is his talent that he plays very much as an individual, on and off the field.
Many use the term loosely, but Jarryd Hayne is a superstar. On his own he wins matches for the teams in which he plays. Had he played he could well have been the difference for the Blues in this just-completed Origin series.
Now 28 and seemingly content with his recent two-year sortie into NFL and rugby sevens, Hayne appears likely to come back to the NRL.
And it seems that in contrast to the hierarchy that snubbed Israel Folau a few years ago, the Todd Greenberg-led team wants him back. And, apparently, they want him back now.
But two major hurdles stand in his way. The first is the dreaded salary cap; the second the shemozzle that is Parramatta.
Let’s not go into the salary cap issue here and now – that is way too complex, and confusing. But the bottom line is that following the walkout of Kieran Foran, $200,000 is seemingly now available in the Eels’ cap until the end of this season.
Obviously, with the Eels next to no hope of making the finals, the query is why spend that that money on Hayne for no tangible return? And it’s a fair question.
But it could well be the best $200,000 the Eels have spent – or wasted – in recent times.
Not only do they get back their gun-for-hire, they strengthen their minuscule chances of a finals berth. And they give their faithful, frustrated fans some overdue good news.
Despite the calamity at Parramatta in 2016, on the field the footy team has been nothing short of sensational. We will never know, but had any semblance of a reasonably normal season transpired the Eels may have been every chance of knocking on the door of their first premiership since 1986.
In many ways, Hayne could be their saviour. Not only would his re-signing boost the fans for the remainder of this season and more down the track, it could well be the ignition to rebuilding the club, starting with a new committee.
And while some of Foran’s millions will be needed to snare Hayne, maybe the troubled 2016 skipper might just like what he sees, and decide to return next season.
But as has long been the case with the dysfunctional Eels, who could predict anything, with any surety.
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