Eels' Supporters Club lauds Hayne decision
The Parramatta Eels Supporters Club has given departing superstar Jarryd Hayne their blessing on his decision to leave the NRL and try to make it in America's NFL.
James Phair, who as a former president and current committee member spoke on behalf of the Supporters Club, was devastated about the news Hayne was leaving the club after nine seasons at Parramatta but didn't begrudge the man for pursuing his dream of chasing gridiron glory.
"Jarryd's always been about sport. Whether it is athletics or basketball and obviously NFL, he has always had a love for other sports but it is something he wants to do and I give him kudos for going ahead and doing it," Phair told NRL.com.
"It is a bold move for someone who pretty much has everything at his feet to leave everything behind and go and test the waters.
"Everybody is shocked and devastated and didn't see it coming but most of all they are all pretty much supportive of what he is doing which is a pretty good thing.
"There is always the odd one who is going to put a bit of hate on him but at the end of the day he has to do what's best for him.
"As a Supporter's Club we... are all proud of what he has achieved and what he will achieve in the future. He is a Parramatta boy and always will be a Parramatta boy."
So where does this leave Parramatta now?
Obviously losing their best player doesn't help their chances heading towards the 2015 season, considering they just completed their most promising campaign since 2009.
For Phair though, while he realises the momentous blow the loss of Hayne presents, he is nonetheless optimistic about the team's chances come next year.
"It is a massive blow... we're losing the Dally M Player of the Year and he's always been the heart of the team in everything they do so... we'll see how we go," Phair said.
"I think they have a fairly good team there though and Brad's doing a pretty good job so hopefully they can continue down the path of improving and learn to play without him.
"They have a lot of good young kids coming through though in the NYC and SG Ball so no doubt a few of them will step up next year."
With rumour rife about who may replace Hayne, Phair has thrown his support behind going to market to replace the seemingly irreplaceable Hayne.
With former Broncos and Raiders outside back Reece Robinson reportedly signing on the dotted line to be at the club next year, it is one step forward in life after Hayne.
While dual-international Israel Folau was Phair's main preference, he was supportive of whoever the club may sign currently on the market.
"[Robinson's signing] is either is a bit of crystal ball or a bit of luck getting him but there are a few on the market as well," Phair said.
"It will be interesting to see how they go. Unfortunately we lost Kenny Sio [who signed with Hull KR] which would've been a good stepping block for him and Hoppa's played a bit fullback but I think we'll someone on the market come to the club."