Hayne return would be massive boost say Eels
Parramatta players would welcome back departed superstar Jarryd Hayne if he were to rejoin the club – but insist they aren't expecting him at this stage.
With the two-time Dally M winner now a free agent there is speculation the NRL club where he played all his junior footy and entire NRL career may be in a position to resign him as early as this season.
Hayne stunned the club by leaving at the end of the 2014 season – in which he won his second Dally M for a spell in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers where he exceeded all expectations by appearing in eight NFL games in his first season.
Another stunning departure, this time to the Fiji Sevens outfit, saw Hayne fall short in a late bid to make the squad for the Rio Olympics.
The 28-year-old is now a free agent and remarkably could be eligible to join the Eels this year. The June 30 transfer deadline only applies to players switching NRL clubs but the Eels would still have a lot of work to do to get their house in order; five deregistered officials would have to elect not to appeal their punishment and the club would have to clear a release for troubled star Kieran Foran to free up the salary cap space.
Aside from Hayne's loyalty to his old club, another factor that could work in Parramatta's favour if they are looking to entice him back is his close friendship with club captain Tim Mannah and 2016 recruit Michael Jennings.
Speaking to media on Tuesday, Mannah said Hayne's next move would be strictly a "business decision" but freely admitted he'd personally love to have his mate back in blue and gold.
"I'd like see him back here but every team in Australia would probably like to have him," Mannah said.
"To be honest I think he needs some space to get over the disappointment of missing out on the (Fiji Sevens Olympic) squad.
"He needs to relax. He's had a really intense five weeks with the amount of loads he's done at training. I'd expect him to want a bit of a break."
Mannah won't try to leverage the pair's friendship to drag Hayne back and while he speaks to the former 49er regularly he hasn't gone into Hayne's future plans with him. However if Hayne does return to the NRL Mannah is hopeful it would be with the Eels.
"I speak to him a lot but I've learned over the years when it comes to business decisions just let them do it. If it was me I wouldn't want everyone coming and telling me what to do," Mannah said.
"He's travelled the world ... and a lot of codes around the world want him to come and play. If he does stay [in rugby league] I think he might come back home.
"The landscape of professional sport has changed a lot over the years... it's no longer just playing for a club or team. He's gone a whole year now without a proper salary. So there's an aspect there where he needs to make some money.
"I'd like to see him back here but we'll just have to see what happens."
If Hayne does decide to return, the fact that he spent 18 months focusing on the explosive type of training required in the NFL followed by a short but intense stint in the non-stop aerobic Sevens environment would have him perfectly balanced to slot straight back into the NRL according to Mannah, who praised Hayne's conditioning as the best he'd seen it.
"San Francisco was one thing and really helped him develop his power as an athlete. In Fiji Sevens in a short amount of time he transformed his body quicker than I've seen a lot of people transform," Mannah said.
"He dropped his weight so quickly. It's probably the leanest I've seen him look his whole NRL career. He's looking great."
Eels utility back Clint Gutherson was another who would love to see Hayne return to Parramatta. Even though Gutherson arrived at the club after Hayne's departure he still saw the impact the Cabramatta junior made in his near-decade in the NRL and as a young fullback in the making could also learn a thing or two from Hayne's return.
"That would be massive if Haynesy comes back," Gutherson said.
"I don't know really what's going on, I only know what I've seen on Twitter and Facebook and stuff like that so I personally have no idea but if he comes back that would be a huge boost for the club and the NRL as a whole. He's a world superstar. Hopefully, but you never know."
After spending much of the pre-season and current season learning off veteran fullback Michael Gordon, another accomplished No.1 could be another huge boost for the Manly junior's development.
"'Flash' (Gordon) has been one of the best for a while now and if Haynesy comes back and shows [me] the ropes that would be massive as well, to learn as much as possible off him," Gutherson added.
"He's been in the game and around the game for I don't know how many years. It feels like he's been around forever and he's still only  so it would be a massive boost for the club and the NRL if he comes back.
"Even when you weren't here you could see what he meant to the club. The fans loved him, he loved Parramatta… if he sees himself coming back it would be a massive boost for the NRL and the club.
"He's a game changer, he can win you games on his own and it would just be a massive boost to any team."