Jarryd Hayne badly wants to help his Parramatta teammates in their hour of need but after rushing back from his hip injury last time, he is more wary this time around.
The two-time Dally M winner was in the ANZ Stadium stands to witness Friday night's 24-14 loss to the Warriors – their ninth loss for the Telstra Premiership season – and did his best to get around the players in the sheds afterwards.
"Everyone is pretty rattled. It's an emotional time. I thought we did everything to win tonight," Hayne said.
"We're completing [sets] well but we're just not winning. Every week we're turning hope and hoping it will change."
The 30-year-old's talent and body size are sorely needed by the Eels, already down on seven NRL regulars through injury and likely to have an eighth in Beau Scott (knee) out for an extended period. Scan results are due on Sunday to confirm whether he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
"That doesn't matter. It won't dictate things. I tried to come back early last time," Hayne said.
"Until I'm confident I can get through 80 minutes I'm not going to play.
"I'm running and everything but it's funny, because when I step off it, or put my weight through it, or turning that's when I feel it.
"It's getting better every week – I'm able to do a full session – so it's getting to a point where I'm getting confident I can get through 80."
Coach Brad Arthur said after the Warriors game he hoped Hayne could be ready for the Broncos on Thursday, along with prop Kane Evans (calf).
Hayne played the opening three rounds in his comeback stint with the Parramatta, after leaving at the end of 2014 to pursue a NFL career. But he injured his hip flexor but rehabilitated it for just three weeks. He returned in round seven but injured it again.
After two years with the Gold Coast, Hayne was so eager to return playing for his beloved Eels.
Now they are 2-9 needing at least another 10 wins from the remaining 13 rounds to play finals.
"You couldn't have written any worse of a script for anyone. So it's tough," Hayne said. "But we're all together and there's no place I'd rather be. There's no better bunch of blokes than these to deal with these things.
"I know every week we have the right effort and the right attitude.
"We're all in it together – not trying to shy away from it – just trying to get the ball rolling."
Hayne said Eels fans needed to know the players were greatly distressed by the poor results.
"We don't come here to lose. We're working our arses off trying to find answers," he said.
"It's been emotional.... it's not just a physical thing. After games we've got boys shedding tears they're so upset of how hard we work and how high our hopes were coming into the season.
"You want something so bad but you don't know why it's not gelling at the moment. But we're not giving up on each other.
"It's got to turn. We don't know how because we've been saying and doing things every week, but it's got to turn."