The Hayne Pain: real reason behind Jarryd's 2018 struggles
Jarryd Hayne has dismissed his critics who feel he is only starting to play well because he's only got five games left on his current contract.
The Parramatta veteran knows the real reason he's been a bit off-colour this year and it's not just been hip and hamstring problems.
He has had some internal gut issues, which led to him feeling bloated and making it hard to drop a couple of kilos in weight he'd been striving to shed.
"We just didn't really know what it was … I did a few different tests and found a lot going on in my stomach. We had to get it fixed," Hayne told NRL.com.
"I've been on the right track for about two months and I think it's clearly showing. My weight is down and I've lost two or three kilos and I've lost that lower gut fat.
"My biggest problem was my metabolism. I was always bloated after eating. And I thought it was just normal.
"So we've changed a couple of things in my diet and I'm on some zinc and probiotics to repair that gut health. That's been huge and helped a lot with the way I'm playing."
No one will forget his 90-metre runaway try against South Sydney last weekend – even if it eventually was disallowed with replays showing Alex Johnston's fingertips touched the ball.
But Hayne, who scored earlier in the game, is just two tries short of equalling Eels great Brett Kenny on 110 tries for the club.
The 30-year-old has missed nine games through injury, but in his last three performances against the Knights, Bulldogs and Rabbitohs, he's shown his best form of 2018.
It has prompted critics to wonder why the flashy steps and speed wasn't there earlier, and if his looming off-contract status had any influence.
"That's people's opinion. My name gets tossed around a lot when people write articles," Hayne said on Tuesday as the Eels prepare to play his former club, Gold Coast.
"I just keep in my lane and that's it."
While playing the Titans for the first time will be a new experience, being caught up in the contract merry-go-round has a familiar tone for Hayne.
"I'm just thinking about ending the season well. Like I've been saying for a while now, at the end of the season I'll sit down and have a think."
Are Eels officials happy to wait, too?
"You'd have to ask Parra," Hayne said.
Meantime, his immediate thoughts are facing old friends like Nathan Peats, Konrad Hurrell and Ash Taylor – but particularly Hurrell.
"Unfortunately Koni is on the other side so he's not going to run near me. I'm sure he'd try but we play on opposite sides," Hayne said.
"It's always good to run against old teammates. There's obviously a bit of carry-on on the field too and that's always fun."
Fun is a priority when your club is sitting in 16th position.
"I've loved being back in the [Parramatta] area, back with this team, but not the season we wanted, obviously. We're devastated with how things have panned out. It's been tough."