There are some who feel that Jarryd Hayne is recreating the Parramatta Eels in the image of the Gold Coast Titans, but that assessment seems unduly harsh.
Yet, in Round 2 NRL play, Hayne seemed to be, in what appears to be the adjective of the week, “lethargic” in his effort against the Manly Sea Eagles. Of course, the entire side could be considered lethargic, although that word seems to lack enough conviction to describe the 54 – 0 bloodbath the Eels took from the Eagles.
“Comatose” might be closer, but “dead” seems to be the perfect fit.
Defenders of Hayne could point out that the game with the Eagles was over soon after it started, when the score was 18 – 0, and to be sure, Hayne was not without assistance from his teammates, who bear equal responsibility for the two losses with which the Eels have launched the 2018 Telstra NRL Premiership competition.
It could be worse for Hayne if the Titans had won their first two games, but after squeezing by the Canberra Raiders 30 – 28 in Round 1, they failed to fire against the New Zealand Warriors, losing that one decidedly, 20 – 8.
The will to fight back from adversity on a scorching hot day at Brookvale could be a sign of weakness, or it could simply be that the Eels are not at the level of fitness required.
It is not as though the Eels thought they had found their saviour in Hayne. He is 30 now and more than a few good rugby players have spent their fuel by that age. Haynes’ sabbatical from the game when he went wandering for the better part of two years certainly did not help his situation, as many athletes who have tried to leave their code, and then come back, have never regained the traction they once enjoyed.
No, it is more like the situation in the AFL, where the Cats brought back Gary Ablett to have a final tour of duty before calling time.