WHAT a flop.
I was excited to see Jarryd Hayne return to the NRL.
Even though he'd suit up in an unfamiliar strip, I figured the electric former Eel would be a different beast with a Steeden tucked under his arm after spending a season with the San Francisco 49ers.
I imagined a fleet-footed fullback with extra bulk and a new running style courtesy of his short NFL experience. A style that would prove difficult for defenders to contain when he attacked at short range.
But apart from a handful of five-star appearances, his time at the Gold Coast has been largely forgettable.
On August 5, 2016, I wrote the only odd thing about the superstar's return to the NRL was that it would be for the Titans, rather than Parramatta. Remember, he promised the loyal, die-hard, blue-and-green army he would return only for them.
The multi-million-dollar machine ends his two-year tenure at the Titans with 15 losses in 23 games, a success rate of just 34.78 per cent.
That's lower than his 45.45per cent win rate with perennial under performers Parramatta.
He propelled the Eels to three finals series in his first four seasons at the club, with his Dally M-winning 2009 season, in which he led Parramatta to the grand final, regarded as one of the best individual seasons of all time. Since then, he has appeared in just one finals series: the 2016 season when he played just six games.
He scored eight tries and a field goal, but his attitude towards the game was regularly questioned as commentators like former State of Origin stars Mark Gasnier and Justin Hodges labelled him as "lazy".
I don't necessarily care where Hayne plays, but his return to the Eels carries the same consequence as that of his arrival at the Glitter Strip: what about the bloke he replaces in the squad?
The Eels qualified for the 2017 semi-final, as Bevan French and Clint Gutherson made the number one jersey their own. They would've made the 2016 finals series had they not been stripped of 12 competition points for salary cap breaches.
Regardless of the outcome of recent allegations out of the United States, do the Eels really need Hayne?
The numbers say no.
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