JARRYD Hayne has reportedly begun telling senior Gold Coast Titans officials he does not intend to return to the club in 2018.
The former Parramatta star has been linked with a return to the Eels on a cut-price deal worth reportedly just $500,000 to $600,000 on a one-year contract designed to bring him closer to his family based in Sydney.
While Hayne has repeatedly denied the reports he is on the way out at the Titans, the former NFL running back on Thursday officially asked for a release with a full season still to run on his contract.
Hayne was accused of stringing the Titans along in an attempt to hold onto $180,000 in “holiday pay” by planning to only tell the club of his intent to walk away in January before his return to pre-season training following a break after the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
The move would reportedly allow Hayne to continue his monthly payments of $90,000 under his deal with the Titans before he accepts his cut-price deal with the Eels.
The Daily Telegraph reported earlier this month Hayne stood to receive $90,000 on November 30 and December 30 if still employed by the Titans.
But Courier-Mail rugby league writer Peter Badel reported Hayne doesn’t plan on taking advantage of that situation.
“My understanding is he will not seek the $180,000 that was reported that he would look to seek over the next two months before he left the club,” Badel told Fox Sports News.
“At the end of the day he could have easily pulled out more money from the Titans, he could have easily gone through for the next two months in pre-season, got six figures from the club to bolster his Parramatta contract.
“But he’s told the club he’s prepared to go now without a cent is my understanding. He deserves some credit from that, he’s not a mercenary in this instance.”
Hayne will be giving up a rich $1.2 million per season deal to return to the Eels.
The career of Jarryd Hayne on the Gold Coast is coming to a close. He has told influential Titans figures he is moving on. @9NewsSyd
— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) November 29, 2017
You can’t blame the Titans for taking a punt on Jarryd Hayne but there’s no doubt that the Hayne experiment was a spectacular failure #NRL
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) November 30, 2017
Jarryd Hayne’s departure will leave the Titans with loads of salary cap space. Might be tough signing big names for next year. Potential targets for year after – Tuivasa-Sheck, Cordner, Morgan among many.
— Brent Read (@brentread_7) November 30, 2017
While there will be plenty who are sceptical of Hayne’s motives to return to Parramatta, Badel said the desire to be closer to his child was the driving force behind the 29-year-old’s decision.
“There are some family reasons — make no mistake, this is what’s driving the whole thing,” Badel said. “He does have a young child who is moving to Sydney with the mother and that’s what’s driving all this.
“Jarryd Hayne wanted to stay at the Gold Coast if his child remained in the area. That won’t be happening so it’s a sad state of affairs on a personal front for Jarryd.
“He’s communicated that to the club. The words I was told was that he’s ‘devastated’ and he’s spoken to the Titans about his personal problems and that relocating to Sydney for him will keep him in contact with his child.”
Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan earlier this week said the Titans decision to recruit new assistant coach Luke Burt and other former Parramatta support staff was not done simply to appease Hayne.
Burt, who played with and coached Jarryd Hayne at the Eels, began life at the Titans this week, joining new strength and conditioning gurus Hayden Knowles and Craig Catterick.
In an unprompted address to media after training on Tuesday, Brennan said the trio’s links to the 29-year-old did not weigh into his decision to hire them.
“(Their appointments) are all in relation to their ability and I felt it was disrespectful to those guys that they were reported as me bringing them to the Gold Coast Titans simply because of their relationship with Jarryd,” Brennan said.
“They’re here cause they are the best people for the job.”
— with AAP
SHEIK’S $60 BILLION NRL GAMECHANGER
THE NRL is bracing for a major shake-up after a public declaration that a $60 billion Sheik from Qatar is lining up a move to buy an NRL club.
The Daily Telegraph reports Sheik Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani has identified rugby league as a future growth opportunity in his investment portfolio and believes the game has potential to grow outside of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Dr Khalid Mohammad, a spokesman to the Sheik, has said Sheik Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani has already invested in international rugby league by backing Pacific nations, including Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.
The Sheik’s family is behind the push to establish a rugby league tournament in Qatar featuring Fiji, Tonga, Smoa and the host nation.
However, the interest in rugby league extends well beyond Pacific nations.
The Telegraph reports the investment consortium is also serious about the prospect of buying a n NRL club.
QUEENSLAND ORIGIN’S WORST ADMINISTRATIVE GAFFE
QUEENSLAND’s 2018 State of Origin campaign is already off to an embarrassing start over a bungled jersey proposal that’s left Queensland Rugby League (QRL) officials red-faced.
The Courier-Mail on Thursday reported the QRL made a panicked, last-minute decision to flog their major-partner rights to Intrust Super in a bargain basement fire sale deal.
It comes just days after NSW revealed a new major sponsor worth more than $1 million per year, a new-look jumper and new coach Brad Fittler at a gala event.
North of the Tweed, the jersey situation is farcical.
The report states the QRL and Intrust Super have agreed to a one-year deal worth just $80,000.
Queensland’s major sponsor in 2017 — Suncorp — paid $650,000 per season to be recognised as Queensland’s major corporate partner.
The Maroons jumper firesale has been labelled “one of the worst administrative gaffes in the QRL’s 109-year history”.
However, the QRL has defended its decision by claiming its overall sponsorship revenue still tops the funds the NSWRL attracts through its corporate sponsorship program.
The loss of Suncorp is not the only whack to Queensland’s hip pocket.
The Maroons origin strip has also lost The Star as a sponsor and long-term partner XXXX has reduced its overall investment in the QRL.
The Courier-Mail reports Intrust Super — which already sponsored the QRL reserve-grade league in 2017 as naming rights partner for the price of $520,000 — has increased its investment in Queensland Rugby League by a further $80,000 for 2018, taking its overall investment to $600,000 with the QRL.
Not even Queensland can win everything.
MALONEY’S PENRITH MOVE FINALLY CLEARED
PENRITH have cleared the way for playmaker James Maloney to join the NRL club, with the Panthers releasing Leilani Latu from the remainder of his contract.
Latu has been linked to Gold Coast and on Thursday Penrith announced he had been granted the opportunity to pursue other options within the NRL, without naming which team.
“He has been tremendous for our club and his release from Panthers is purely a salary cap management decision,” Penrith general manager Phil Gould said.
“He is a great acquisition for his new club and we wish him well in the future.”
The release of prop Latu – who played in new Titans coach Garth Brennan’s Panthers under 20s team — is expected to help Penrith seal a deal with Cronulla’s Test playmaker James Maloney.
Maloney is set to join the Panthers as a direct player swap for Matt Moylan, who has signed with the Sharks.
On Wednesday, Gold Coast announced Brenton Lawrence was retiring from the NRL, three months after signing a two-year deal with the club.
Lawrence’s departure came after a report that Latu had signed a three-year Titans deal.