Jarryd Hayne has brushed off speculation linking him to Sydney Roosters, saying Parramatta would be his preference if he ever pulls the plug on his NFL career dream.
Hayne has also tipped Parramatta, his former NRL team, to rise and enjoy a big 2016 season – top four if their big signings stay clear of injuries.
Hayne isn’t guaranteed a spot on the San Francisco 49ers active roster for the next NFL season, however the franchise does hold his rights and can offer him a new contract when he begins pre-season training in April.
The Roosters have been heavily linked to Hayne since he returned to Australia in his off-season, while Parramatta have looked to move on from their Hayne era, signing veteran No.1 Michael Gordon and pencilling in Auckland Nines star Bevan French as their long-term fullback.
But Hayne left no doubts as to where his hypothetical return would occur.
“Like I always said, if I ever came back I’d go to Parra if they wanted me,” Hayne told Triple M’s The Grill Team on Monday.
“That was always something I said from the start. It’s funny when you see media outlets say I’m doing this and I’m doing that.
“It’s even funnier when you see Parra fans go online and have a go at me. If you believe that you’re a clown.”
Hayne spent the weekend watching his native Fiji at the rugby union Sevens tournament in Sydney but after hearing Parramatta had won the NRL Auckland Nines in New Zealand, he was buoyant about their season prospects.
The Eels haven’t been in the finals since Hayne inspired their fairytale 2009 run to the grand final.
“If Parra can keep their star players healthy, they’ll be in the top four,” he said.
“The biggest thing is keeping healthy – Beau Scott, [Anthony] Watmough, Kieran Foran. If those blokes can play over 80 per cent of games, I think they’ll do well.”