(Eds: Note language in fourth and seventh pars).
By Scott Bailey
SYDNEY, Aug 3 AAP – Parramatta legend Ray Price has hit out at Jarryd Hayne and his decision to join rival NRL club Gold Coast.
Hayne’s two-year deal with the Titans, which will allow him to start playing this weekend, comes despite both Hayne and the Eels claiming he had a “lifetime deal” to return to the club when he left for the NFL in 2014.
Price said he was “gutted” by the move.
“I just think it’s a s*** thing that he’s done,” Price told Fox Sports.
“Parramatta did let him go and chase his dream – gutted.
“In hindsight I really did think Jarryd would go for the money. And you can’t blame him. You don’t get that much of a career out of it.
“But still a little bit dirty because Parramatta helped him chase his dreams and now he’s just s*** on them.”
Price’s mood reflected that of Parramatta fans on Tuesday morning, who took to social media to attack the former Eels superstar over his decision to sign with the Titans.
In his Titans press conference, Hayne admitted to mixed feelings but insisted he had not been given a formal offer from the Eels.
That claim was contested by the Eels a couple of hours later, when they said they had communicated an offer to Hayne’s management in the past 48 hours but were told it was not high enough to compete.
However Hayne’s decision came as no surprise to former Eels greats Michael Cronin and Brett Kenny.
“I always thought if he was coming back to Parramatta the decision would have been made before now,” Cronin told AAP.
“We wouldn’t have been reading about him going to Fiji, we wouldn’t have been reading about the rugby union.”
Kenny said he didn’t blame Hayne for making the decision.
“With the season that they’ve had, it would have been great to be able to make the announcement that Jarryd Hayne has re-signed again with Parramatta,” Kenny said.
“But there’s no real fairytales in rugby league, and it has become a business and players have got to look after themselves.”
Hayne penned a letter to Parramatta fans on his departure in 2014, committing to Parramatta if he returned.
“I’m leaving knowing that I have signed a lifetime agreement with the Eels, so if I return to the NRL, it will be to Parramatta,” it read.