Pained, like watching an ex-girlfriend with a new man, I watched Titans boss Graham Annesley fawn all over Jarryd Hayne at Gold Coast’s press conference announcing their signing of the former Parramatta/San Francisco 49er/Fiji 7’s star.
I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to Round 1 in 2015 at Parramatta Stadium where Hayne, with a standing ovation from the Parramatta faithful, was farewelled as he left on his NFL adventure. The blow of losing our best player was softened by the knowledge that a return to the NRL would only be in Parramatta blue and gold.
It is fair to say that it has been a pretty terrible year to be a Parramatta supporter. Whilst not wanting to tempt fate to prove me wrong, I would suggest everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong.
Unlike most of the ‘gifts’ the now sacked board has left for us, which were caused by entering into agreements they shouldn’t have, this one is a result of them not securing an agreement that they should have. When Hayne was released in 2014 to pursue his NFL ‘dream’ both club and player trumpeted a ‘life-time’ agreement that would tie the two-time Dally M Medallist to the Eels if he was to ever to return to the NRL.
Throughout the nearly two years since he was released from his deal the language surrounding this agreement has progressively softened. To the point that we now know it was nothing more than politi-speak to deflect attention from the fact that Parramatta had let their star player walk out for nothing.
One thing that never sat well with me from his press conference announcing his departure (and again at Parramatta Stadium in early 2015), was his assertion that he had done everything in the sport. Coming from the captain of the club, I thought this odd as he was yet to put Premiership number 5 in the cabinet at O’Connell Street. Surely not winning a premiership at Parramatta, the club you ‘loved’ was a gap in your CV?
Hayne began Wednesday’s press conference advising all and sundry that his decision wasn’t the easiest decision to make. Very familiar words, it is pretty much how he opened his 2014 press conference but this time minus the tears and talk of ‘following a dream’. Talk and emotion that melted this columnist’s cold dark heart and made him an enthralled spectator in the journey that followed.
Much of the remainder of the press conference was a little clouded by a rage cloud but let me share with you a few quotes that resonated and really enraged the former President of the Jarryd Hayne Fan Club. I am not a trained stenographer but the ‘jilted lover feeling’ within me has ensured that I capture stammers etc in their entirety. Yes I am that petty:
I guess everything happens for a reason, and um, you know, a part of me is sad because, cause I’ve obviously I’m not going back to the club that I grew up with and that I um love as a, a kid and come through.
It wasn’t easy and um you know I think at the end of the day I wanted to play footy this year and the way that the board is at Parramatta and the way things have gone on there this year we um couldn’t get something done and uh you know it’s sad and it um hurts me just as much as I know it hurts the fans down there…
(was there an offer from Parramatta) No and that’s one of the main reasons.
Every week I’d ask my manager what’s Parra doing, where’s Parra’s offer….
I sat down with Brad (Parramatta coach Brad Arthur) and spoke about the future…
I always wanted to go back to Parra…
I was having lunch with Timmy (Parramatta Captain Tim Mannah) on Monday and asked what’s going on are you guys going to offer me a contract or not
I had to make a decision, it obviously tore me apart.
Obviously you never understand the full gamut of thoughts another man goes though in making a major life decision. That said, and maybe this is the immature anger cursing through me speaking, this feels like another disingenuous one by Jarryd Hayne. Despite his protestations, in my mind that standing ovation in 2015 was in fact stolen by Jarryd Hayne with crocodile tears and false promises.