Daley: Hayne holds special place in Blues' hearts
NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley says departing Eels ace Jarryd Hayne holds a special place in the hearts of New South Wales fans and will always be welcome back should he return to rugby league.
Following news the 26-year-old had quit Parramatta to chase his dream of playing in the NFL in the United States, Daley said the NSW fullback's departure was "a blow" but hoped he would one day return to the NRL and the sky blue.
"He's a tremendous athlete and will be remembered by Blues fans as one of the best to pull on a New South Wales jumper in State of Origin," Daley said.
"We thank him for his contribution to the VB Blues and wish him all the best because in his new career he will also be an ambassador for rugby league. NFL fans will want to see where Jarryd's come from and that means interest in State of Origin can only grow."
Hayne has played 20 Origins for the VB Blues since his State of Origin debut in 2007, and was an integral part of the drought-breaking 2014 team.
NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis also paid tribute to Hayne's contribution to the Blues.
"Jarryd's been a great servant for the VB Blues and was instrumental in helping Laurie Daley's side bring the shield back to New South Wales after nine years," Peponis said.
"He's a dual Brad Fittler Medal winner which speaks for itself, and while we're obviously sad to see him leave we wish him all the best and hope he returns one day to play for us again."
New South Wales Rugby League chief executive David Trodden said Hayne's contribution to the Origin team over many years will continue to be felt long into the future.
"So many of the juniors playing our game have been inspired by Jarryd's brilliance," Trodden said.
"Those players are our next generation of stars and for that and his efforts for the VB Blues we must thank Jarryd and he knows he goes with our best wishes."
Daley remained positive that depth in the outside backs is not an issue for the NSW Origin side looking forward.
South Sydney's Dylan Walker and Alex Johnston and Newcastle's Sione Mata'utia have all just been named in their first Holden Kangaroos squad for the Four Nations.
With Hayne withdrawing Walker is likely to be considered for a starting spot in the centres with the trio certain to get valuable experience as they push to make their State of Origin debuts next year.
"With so many of our young guns selected for Australia the future is bright for New South Wales," Daley said.
"They have all been part of our junior programs and it's exciting to think what the future holds for them when it comes to the VB Blues."