Published on 16 August, On news.com.au
PARRAMATTA won’t put a deadline on its contract negotiations with Jarryd Hayne despite the need to finalise its 2019 roster.
Coach Brad Arthur this week reiterated his desire to keep the off-contract Hayne at the club and offer him a new NRL deal.
Hayne accepted a one-year contract worth a reported $500,000 for 2018 after asking for a release from his $1.2 million deal on the Gold Coast. And his decision will affect the club’s retention strategy with outside backs George Jennings and Kirisome Auava’a off contract.
Hayne has consistently stated he will not consider his future until after the end of the Eels’ season and Arthur said they wouldn’t be putting pressure on the code-hopping star.
“There’s no pressure, we’ve decided that at the end of round 25 we’ll sit down and we’ll have a chat to him then,” Arthur said.
“At the moment he’s in some really good form and the priority for him and his teammates is that he continues to help us play well. We’ve got three tough games to finish the season out. Jarryd’s important to that.”
There is also the question of where Hayne will fit into the side with Sydney Roosters winger Blake Ferguson coming to the club as a marquee recruit.
Hayne has excelled since being moved to the wing the past few weeks, while demonstrating an ability to play either side of the field and anywhere in the backline.
Arthur said he did not know where Hayne would fit should he sign on. The 30-year-old copped criticism for his early season form but it was revealed he struggled through a hip injury and stomach illness in the first half of the year.
Since returning from injury in round 14 against North Queensland, he has scored nine tries in eight games — including a hat-trick in last week’s flogging of St George Illawarra.
Hayne has been linked with a code switch to rugby union in an attempt to play for Fiji at next year’s Rugby Union World Cup but Arthur confidently predicted the star will stick with the Eels if he stays in league.
MASSIVE DEBUT FOR PARRA’S $300M BEHEMOTH
Parramatta are hoping to open their new home with a blockbuster Anzac Day clash against the Wests Tigers next year, new chairman Sean McElduff has revealed.
With the $300 million western Sydney stadium not due to be completed until April next year, the Eels are expected to be on the road for the opening third of the season.
They want to usher in a new era with a bang by selling out the 30,000-seat stadium with what will be one of the highlights of the NRL calendar.
“The delivery of the stadium’s out of our control but from all the reports I’m getting, it’s on time. We’ll get delivery of the stadium for that last weekend in April,” McElduff told AAP.
“Based on all the information I’ve got, I’m as confident as I can possibly be (of that game).” Next season shapes as an important one for the club.
After surviving this year’s disappointing campaign, Arthur will enter the final year of his contract with the expectation of having his side in finals contention.
Big-names Junior Paulo and Blake Ferguson bolster a roster that is now likely to also include two-time Dally M medallist Hayne.
A review into the football department is expected to be finalised by the end of the month, but McElduff said the club had already identified holes in their current set-up.
He admits they erred in opting not to immediately replace assistant coach Peter Gentle following his move to South Sydney last summer.
And the Eels also chose not to appoint a head of football despite looking to fill the role two years ago, and will again advertise for one this week. In a week where Manly coach Trent Barrett has reportedly resigned due to a lack of support, the Eels also recognise their current facilities are sub-par.
Plans to turn their Old Saleyards Reserve into a centre of excellence have failed, while their large pool of juniors hasn’t produced as many first-grade players as they would’ve liked.
McElduff promised more money would be spent on the football department. “The review hasn’t finished yet but I can tell you that investing some more money in our facilities is one of the things that’s coming out of it,” he said. “Doing a better job with our junior development is another area. “It’s no secret that our junior teams, our Harold Matts and SG Ball teams have been really successful over the last 16 years.
“We’d like to see more juniors coming through and playing in the NRL. “We need to make sure we’ve got the right development programs and the right pathways so that we give juniors every opportunity.”