An “emotional” Jarryd Hayne says he is just as devastated as Parramatta fans that he hasn’t ended up back at the Eels.
Preparing to train for the first time with his new Gold Coast teammates on Thursday, Hayne laid the blame squarely on Parramatta for backflipping on a past promise to rejoin them if he returned to the NRL.
And he said he felt sympathy for outraged Eels fans who have blasted him on social media.
“I’m just as frustrated that it couldn’t get worked out,” Hayne said.
“They’re obviously upset … they’re obviously a very emotional bunch and so am I.
“I’m just as devastated that it had to go like this.”
The 28-year-old has joined the Titans on a two-year deal believed to be worth $2.4 million.
Parramatta made a late offer for significantly less, but Hayne said he had to initiate the negotiations and the lack of interest from the Eels forced him to join a rival club.
“I’d been unemployed for almost a month, knocking back offers for that long, waiting for theirs,” he said.
“If you’ve got to call someone to ask what’s going on, it’s not a good sign.
“I waited as long as I could, did all that I could.”
Hayne denied his decision was simply about money and said Parramatta’s off-field woes in the wake of their salary cap scandal was also a factor.
Aiming to prove his fitness to play for the Titans in their home NRL clash with the Warriors on Sunday, said his toughest challenge would be getting his emotions in check.
“I probably haven’t been this emotional leading up to a practice,” he said.
“As a professional athlete I’ve just got to get my head right and as each hour passes or each day goes by I feel better and better.”
Titans enforcer Greg Bird, an NSW State of Origin teammate of Hayne, said excitement around the superstar’s arrival was palpable.
“Everyone’s seen what he can do for a football team,” Bird said.
“In 2009 for Parramatta he took them all the way through (to the grand final) from basically nothing halfway through the season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing that sort of form from Haynesie.”