Dyldam Parramatta Eels CEO Scott Seward says the Blue and Gold remains on track heading into 2015 following the departure of fullback Jarryd Hayne to the United States.
While Seward describes the local junior and Eels icon as “irreplaceable,” he says Parramatta is prepared to be increasingly active in the player market to be more competitive than ever in the 2015 season.
And with Hayne obtaining a conditional release to try his hand at an NFL career, Seward says it’s important for the club to know that if and when he returns to the NRL, he will play for the Parramatta Eels.
“I think we’re all still a bit in shock as to what’s taken place in the last 24 hours,” Seward said.
“But this wasn’t something he was going to be talked out of: he’s making these decisions for the right reasons, for Jarryd Hayne the athlete and the person.”
“It’s not a decision about the game, it’s not a decision about this club. And it’s very hard to put an argument against that when you can hear the pure emotion in his voice; he wants to go live a dream. I don’t actually know what you can say against that.”
“The most important thing from a club perspective that we’ve been able to get out of this process is the agreement we have with Jarryd that if he ever does come back to the NRL, the only club that he’ll play for is Parramatta.”
“I think it’s important for our Members and fans and all our partners out there to know that while he might be lost to the club for a period of time, and while we hope he is successful over there, that if it does get to a stage where he does come back and he plays NRL again that he’ll play for Parramatta.”
As to where future signings for the Eels will be made, Seward says he is not ruling out any codes, teams, or even continents in the search for the right fit for the Blue and Gold.
“The first move for us is to make sure we make the right decision,” Seward said.
“You don’t replace Jarryd Hayne, and we shouldn’t try to.”
“What we should try and do is make sure that the 17 players that run out for Round 1 next year give us the very best opportunity to win and win all year and keep going on with the path, the plan this club has.”
“We’ll be extremely active and we have been already. This adds to it, and it adds a different position that we’re looking for.”
“Brad and I have been in conversations, obviously, over night. We’re formulating where we think we should go.”
“We will look everywhere, we will look at any code, we will go after who we think should play for Parramatta next year and beyond.”
“The number one thing we’ve been able to do is build a club and Brad’s built a team. They believe in themselves now.”
“This club won’t fall apart because Jarryd Hayne isn’t playing in the number one jersey next year. Right now I think we’ll handle it and Jarryd probably made that decision now because he thinks we can.”
“Would we prefer Jarryd here? Undoubtedly! But we’ll move on, we have to.”