Interim Parramatta boss Max Donnelly says one of his immediate priorities will be attempting to lure Jarryd Hayne back to the NRL club.
Donnelly was appointed as a temporary administrator to the Eels on Tuesday following NSW government intervention.
In his first public comments on Wednesday since being appointed, Donnelly said he would love to see Hayne back at the Eels.
He also set his sights on healing the frayed relationship between the Eels and the NRL in the wake of Parramatta’s salary-cap scandals which resulted in them being fined $1 million and docked 12 competition points.
Donnelly envisaged his commission as boss of both the Eels Leagues Club and the football club would last until the start of the 2017 season.
“I would like to think all the governance issues will be dealt with and a new board in place by next season,” he said on Wednesday at Parramatta Leagues Club.
But before then, he wanted to move on Hayne.
“Do the Eels want to try to get Jarryd Hayne in a blue and gold jersey?” he said.
“In an ideal world, yes, but I’ve got no idea what room we have to move in the cap. I would love him to return, but I have no idea at all if it’s possible.”
Kieran Foran’s release from the Eels, yet to be ratified by the club, would open the way for Hayne’s return.
“I don’t know what is happening with Kieran Foran,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly said he was aiming to split up the make-ups of the leagues club and football club at Parramatta in a bid to end the factionalism that had wracked the side.
Previously, the same people have sat on both boards.
“The most common problem was the same members on the boards of both companies and therefore no independence,” he said.
Donnelly also said he would look to have entirely new personnel on those boards.
“Ideally, we will start with a clean slate,” he said.
The Eels could drop their appeal against their salary-cap sanctions that has been lodged with the NRL, Donnelly indicated.
“I need to investigate the legal merits of the appeal and understand whether it’s worth funding,” he said.
Donnelly said he would not interfere in day-to-day football matters.
“The good news is I won’t be telling (coach) Brad Arthur who will be playing halfback,” he said
“And, that’s not my role. On the field, they’ve done their bit and I’ve got to speak to everyone and I will speak to Brad, but I would prefer he focus on the team.”
However, former North Sydney Bears administrator Donnelly said he would have to sign off on any players the Eels did look to recruit and that the NRL would have a significant role in the rebuilding of the club.
“I have reached out to (NRL CEO) Todd Greenberg and his people,” he said.
The NRL was set to hand down sanctions shortly against troubled playmaker Corey Norman, Donnelly also said.