Parramatta players might be celebrating Mad Monday after yet another disappointing end to the NRL season, but plans are also in place to continue the party in San Francisco with new 49ers star Jarryd Hayne.
Coach Brad Arthur has told his squad they will be training right up until the grand final, but from there players will be jetting off to the United States in bunches, hopeful of catching their former teammate in action once their season kicks off next week.
“There’s a few trips happening,” Eels skipper Tim Mannah told AAP.
“He’s going to be inundated with different groups of boys coming in and out of the pre-season.
“He’s pretty good at staying focused on what he needs to do, but he’ll definitely have fun with the boys.”
Mannah was one of the first to congratulate Hayne after waking up on Sunday morning to news the 27-year-old had officially made the 49ers 53-man squad.
“I think it happened at six thirty in the morning so most of us were asleep and I woke up to the good news,” he said.
“I spoke to him straight away and he was pretty excited.
“Common sense was that he was going to make it, but you never really know. We’re all hoping that the new journey is a real big success for him.”
While always confident that his long-time teammate would eventually be a success in the American game, Mannah conceded he was stunned at how fast he has adapted to the nuances of sport.
“He’s got a lot of confidence in his ability, that’s for sure. I was always confident he was going to make it, but I’m definitely surprised how quickly he did it,” he said.
Hayne’s swift rise in the NFL has captured the imagination of many sporting fans on either side of the Pacific Ocean, however Mannah said the former NSW Origin hero was well equipped to handle the pressure that comes with his latest achievement.
“He’s prepared for it. He’s had it his whole career,” Mannah said.
“He’s always had the spotlight on him, it’s just on a bigger scale now. But he’s definitely not changing who he is, which is good.”
Former Eels coach Ricky Stuart said that if anyone was going to make the quantum leap to gridiron, it would be Hayne.
“I can only repeat what I said when he left,” he said.
“One, I didn’t know because I don’t know the background and stepping stones getting to where he’s got.
“But two – and I publicly said it so I’m not jumping on the wagon – I said if there was an athlete in the NRL that I thought had the capabilities, the athleticism and the desire to achieve in that type of game that it would certainly be Jarryd Hayne.”