Should The Eels Take Hayne Back?

Let's face facts, any team would take a firing Jarryd Hayne. The problem with taking on a player like Jarryd Hayne is his consistency, let's be honest he really hasn't done much since he returned to the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans, he hasn't warranted or lived up to the $1 Million dollar price tag slapped on his contract. Everyone, myself included, thought he would come back and pick up where he left off, incredible runs, fantastic try savers and individual moments of brilliance, that made him one of the NRL's most talented prospects.

Taking on Jarryd does have it's advantages and disadvantages, for example; sponsorship deals. Wherever big names go money follows, it would be a big boost to a club to receive some extra money for something as simple as signing up a player, I'd say more money from merchandise sales too but judging by the general consensus of Eels fans so far that's not sounding very likely. On the other side of this though, Hayne will be looking for a contract in the region of what he is on now at the Titans, this means you have to be certain he will help to recoup the money you are spending; in sponsorships, memberships and merchandise.

If you compare Hayne's last season in the NRL to his first full season back you can see quite a change. NRL 2014 season stats: 21 games played, 20 tries, 10 try assists and 23 line breaks. These are the stats of someone who is at the top of their game and easily worth a million dollar contract with any side. Now we look at his 2017 stats: 16 games played, 8 tries, 4 try assists and 9 line breaks. It's clear the best of Jarryd Hayne is yet to return to the NRL but this is definitely not a question of when, but instead a huge if. You can't justify spending that amount on someone who might not be able to back it up, it now looks likely that Hayne is passed his prime which is unfortunate not just for him, but for the game itself as it looks like he left for the NFL in his peak years.

Advantages? Hayne is a versatile player, he can play anywhere in the back line which provides great depth and cover to the squad. Bringing him back could boost the club's income and fan base. He has worked with the coaching staff before so he won't require much settling in time.

Disadvantages? Resigning Hayne could cause friction between the board and fans, this is down to the walkout saga in 2014. Hayne's contract will take a huge chunk out of the Eels salary cap. He may never return to his best meaning that the move was a huge waste of time and money. Hayne's big personality could cause friction in the playing group. 

Where would he play? One of the biggest questions is, where does Hayne fit in the squad? No team is going to throw a seven figure contract at a player and use him as a rotation. Gutherson is fullback, Moses and Norman are the halves, Rardradra and French on the wings with Jennings and Takairangi in the centres. Gutherson was in the running for the Dally M until a season ending injury so that spot is occupied. Nobody pays 1 million dollars for a winger, Rardradra and French's spots are safe. At best Hayne slots into the centre. This conundrum is what tells me this move probably won't happen.

If Jarryd is going to sign for the Eels then he has a lot of bridges to rebuild, not just with the players but the management and the fans too. He also needs to lower his expectations slightly as I doubt the Eels are going to take a million out of the war chest for the sake of  nostalgia and a hopeful chance he comes good. Personally I feel like it's best for both parties to leave it all in the past. Jarryd was a great player for the Eels in his time there, regardless of what anyone says they will always have a soft spot for him, but everyone will expect him to comeback and do it all again. I don't think right now he can, meaning it's best just to leave things as they are.



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