The Eels' Jarryd Hayne may be heading to the Dragons. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The Eels' Jarryd Hayne may be heading to the Dragons. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Hayne ‘doesn’t fit’ at the Dragons

ST GEORGE Illawarra don't need Jarryd Hayne to push for next year's NRL title, according to former Dragons centre Matt Cooper.

The Dragons have been linked this week with making a play for Hayne, who remains unsigned by Parramatta as negotiations continue over his stay.

The Dragons wouldn't publicly comment on speculation when contacted earlier this week, but it remains questionable whether they would have the room within their salary cap to offer a sizeable deal for the two-time Dally M Medallist.

Cooper, who played with Hayne as a youngster at State of Origin level, was unsure if the reports were accurate but  didn't believe there was a need for Hayne in the Dragons' roster next year.

"If we were to sign him I don't know where he would play," Cooper told reporters at the Dragons' announcement of an NRL game at Mudgee.

"We do have a great side at the moment. As much as he is a great player it would be hard to fit him into the side if we have a healthy side.

"If he signs here that would be great, he's a great player and leader. But in saying that I think we've got the side that can win the comp next year."

Former Origin teammates Matt Cooper (left) and Jarryd Hayne (right) with Willie Mason (centre). Picture: Gregg Porteous
Former Origin teammates Matt Cooper (left) and Jarryd Hayne (right) with Willie Mason (centre). Picture: Gregg Porteous

Hayne, a former fullback, played the majority of last season in the centres for Parramatta before finding form on the wing late in the year.

Euan Aitken and Tim Lafai are well established as the Saints' centres, and coach Paul McGregor must also find a spot for young  Zac Lomax - a star in the first week of this year's finals.

There could, however, be room on the wing following the departures of North Queensland-bound Nene Macdonald and the retiring Jason Nightingale.

The Eels have long said they want to keep Hayne, who wanted to wait until the end of the season before making a decision on his future but last week hinted, via social media, at frustration over the lack of an offer.

Meanwhile, the Dragons will play their 2019 round-10 match in Mudgee on May 19, with an opponent to be confirmed when the NRL's draw is released next week.


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