It is official, Jarryd Hayne is now a Gold Coast Titan after signing a very lucrative multi-year deal to play with the club, shunning the Parramatta Eeels, and returning to the game he knows and loves.
I am really excited to see Hayne sign with the Titans. It is a massive boost for the club, and one they needed. The Titans have had a rough few years. They have played way above expectation so far this season and the addition of Hayne could see them move just a little higher up the ladder of NRL contenders, if not this season, then over the next few seasons.
There is a lot to take in with the news Hayne will join the Titans, not the least of which is his decision not to re-sign with the Parramatta Eels.
The Eels are an absolute basketcase right now. Aside from all of the issues at management level they have, the lineup could be completely different in 2017 depending on how various court cases and other things go, and the Eels are just not the best place for any footballer to be right now.
Yes Hayne said he would only ever play for the Eels, but I can’t blame him for changing his mind. The Eels are a self destructive club, and after having so many big changes in his life over the last 18 months, I think Hayne probably had a different perspective on his life and his football in regards to how he wanted to end his career. Hayne could either wade into the mess that was the Eels, one that he had to deal with his entire NRL career, or he could look elsewhere and for a fresh new challenge at a club where he could make a real difference.
I’d also suggest that being out of the Sydney media’s spotlight appealed to him the more he thought about it.
It is interesting to note that the Gold Coast Titans are owned by the National Rugby League. The NRL has to approve Haynes contract with a club it owns. That could be a bit of a conflict of interest, but I have no issues with it. Hayne going to the Titans is a good thing for Rugby League. A strong Gold Coast Titan’s clubs strengthens the standing of every other club in the competition. Its not like the NRL is stepping in and making sure Hayne goes to a club that doesn’t need a bit of a boost. As a fan of the game, this is a good move for everyone. If it is a conflict of interest, it is one I am happy to see play out this way.
It will be interesting to see how Hayne plays on his return. He would have had to make a change to his body to play in the short, sharp, high impact world of the NRL. Since leaving the NFL to play a few games of Rugby Union Sevens he will have changed a little, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in his first game back (Which could be as soon as this weekend!) Hayne isn’t played at fullback but rather on the Wing or even in the centers just to find his feet again.
I’d suggest he will be lacking a little in terms of endurance, that he might need time to re-adjust to the NRL, but it won’t take too long. Give him a few games and you’d be comfortable with him playing in the centers, and by seasons end, at fullback.
I do wonder how things work in terms of Hayne playing a sport (NFL) that does not come under the WADA drug testing code. Rugby Union found a loophole for Hayne to jump through so he was able to walk straight into Rugby Union Sevens. My guess is that Hayne will be observed to have come from a sport (Rugby Union) that adheres to the WADA code and therefore there are no issues there. I do find all of that interesting, but that’s just me geeking out on paperwork more than anything else.
I’m happy to see that Hayne has returned to Rugby League. All true Rugby League supporters should feel the same way. I love moments where we see something different happen within the sport, and Hayne going to the Titans is one of those moments.
His first game back will be interesting to watch, and the impact he has on the Titans season on and off the field will be interesting to see.
This is what we need more of in Rugby League in my opinion. Change can be interesting, it can be exciting, and everyone will be tuned in to see what happens at the Titans this weekend.
Rugby League use to be a sport that embraced these type of moves. So I’m happy to see Hayne in a Titans jersey and for Rugby League to have something unpredictable happen for a change.