RUGBY: Maybe there is hope for long-suffering New South Wales and Parramatta fans after all, with the Hayne Plane to touch down in Sydney later this week.
Former Eels, Blues and Kangaroos rugby league star and San Francisco NFL player Jarryd Hayne’s rugby dream is now over, after being told by Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan he missed the squad for next month’s Rio Olympics.
While the Waratahs have expressed their interest in the 28-year-old playing the 15-man game, Parramatta appears a strong early chance to secure the prized signature of the freakish fullback.
And he could join the western Sydney club in the coming weeks.
It was the silky skills of Hayne that helped NSW break an eight-year Origin drought in 2014, before later that year he stunned the football world by declaring he wanted to play in the NFL.
After seeing the writing on the wall at the famous 49ers organisation that he would struggle to get much game time next season, Hayne then had an unsuccessful shot at sevens rugby with Fiji.
“I used all my experience as a professional athlete and have tried in every way possible to make this team but, unfortunately, time has been against me,” Hayne said in a statement.
Hayne linked with the Fiji squad and made his debut in the final World Series round in London in May, playing only limited minutes as it clinched the world title.
“As much as I would have loved to go to Rio, I too knew I wasn’t ready yet,” Hayne said.
“During my time with the team, I pushed my body above and beyond.”
Reports have emerged the Eels are preparing to launch an audacious bid to lure Hayne back to the club.
The June 30 transfer deadline applies only to rugby league-registered players, meaning Hayne would be able to join the Eels this season if the NRL approves his contract.
But there is a proviso: the NRL will only approve Hayne’s signing if the Eels undergo governance reforms and elect a new board after this year’s ugly salary cap scandal.
The news emerging from the embattled club continues to get worse, with allegations former Eels star Will Hopoate and current playmaker Corey Norman received off-the-books payments.
Reports have also emerged former Eels hooker Nathan Peats was allegedly offered a third-party agreement on a cafe napkin.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of the players or their managers.
The Eels would only have room in the salary cap to squeeze in Hayne for this season if they agree to Kieran Foran’s release request from his multimillion-dollar contract, which is reportedly close to being finalised.
There are estimates the release of Foran would free up the Eels with an additional $250,000 for the rest of 2016.
That is close to Hayne’s estimated value for the rest of this season.
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