Andrew Johns insists the Eels have to re-sign Jarryd Hayne. Hayne insists he won't talk about what he will or won't do next season until the end of this one.
In the last three weeks, Hayne has finally shaken off injury and has arguably been Parramatta's best. But it doesn't mean suitors are suddenly climbing from the trees to thrust a pen and paper in front of him.
He's earning $500,000 this year, light years away from the $1.2 million he was owed if he stayed at the Titans instead of coming home. He might have to take less again if he wants to stay beyond 2019.
Hayne doesn't want to talk about it now, yet the fascination grows where he will be next year.
Johns gushed about him on Thursday night, saying if he was in charge of the Eels, Hayne would be staying. But that won't be decided until after the rest of the Eels squad has jetted to wherever their exotic post-season September holidays are scheduled.
Maybe Hayne's renaissance can be traced to a frank conversation with coach Brad Arthur a couple of months ago. A man who has always lived outside the box, Hayne wanted a weights program befitting his mantra. So he asked for one.
"I spoke to Brad and said my body hasnt really responded to the basic weights session everyone does," Hayne said after the Eels inched closer to avoiding the wooden spoon with a win over the Bulldogs on Thursday night. "It is tough, too, because you dont want to be different.
"I look at weights and put on weight. I have lost over a kilo of muscle and a kilo of fat since the start of the season. I wanted to be lighter and Brad wanted me to be lighter. I said, 'You cant be lifting weights and wanting to be light'. So we have figured out a good program.
"The game has grown. The trainers are adapting to it. Weights only got introduced properly about 20 years ago. Everyone did the same thing. Slowly they have figured out that everybody is different.
"These days the backs will do a program and the forwards will do a program. Now were taking it to the next steps where the individual program is based on what their strengths and weaknesses are.
"I have one of those weird-arsed bodies. It was getting everything firing right. I have been doing it for the last two months and I think we are seeing good results. Im a lot freer now and thats obviously helped and shown the benefits when Im out there playing."
If his critics don't think he's been hurting this year, they're wrong. Hayne spoke openly about the "devastating" season so far after the Eels struggled past Canterbury. How finally winning a game wasn't pure joy, but mainly left a "numbing feeling".
It begs the question: will the Eels' disappointment this year spur Hayne to right a few wrongs next year? Again, few clues are given.
"Its obviously sad the way our season has gone," Hayne said. "For us to come in with such high hopes and be almost taken out by round 10, thats probably been the biggest thing for us. Where you are on the ladder you get tough nights and tough days. It takes its toll on you."
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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