Hayne’s Dragons move dead in the water
Jarryd Hayne may have played his last game in the NRL after St George Illawarra's interest in the free agent cooled significantly in recent days.
St George Illawarra's pursuit of Hayne stalled well before revelations he was under investigation by the NSW Sex Crimes Squad following an alleged incident on grand final night. No charges have been laid.
The Dragons were once considered a frontrunner to entice Hayne to the club, but the parties have been unable to find a common ground in negotiations.
News Corp Australia has learnt the 30-year-old Hayne has been seeking a two year deal worth $1.4 million. However, the Dragons are not prepared to offer Hayne more than $500,000 for season 2019.
It is also understood the contract had significant behavioural clauses centred around training attendance which is said to have left Hayne perturbed.
St George Illawarra have not completely ruled out making a late play for Hayne but the latest unsubstantiated allegations will not sit well with the club. Hayne now faces the very real prospect of being squeezed out of the NRL all together.
With most clubs back at pre-season training, the two-time Dally M medallist may be forced to look overseas to continue his sporting career.
He had held out hopes of returning to the Eels with his junior club keen on extending Hayne's deal but they have been unable to shed the players needed to accommodate Hayne's salary.
Hayne flirted with rugby before rejoining the NRL midway through 2016 at the Titans. At least one Super Rugby club from New Zealand had toyed with handing Hayne a lifeline.
The Dragons yesterday dismissed reports local product Matt Dufty was set to be shifted from the club.
Dufty, who has another year on his contract, had been made to be the likely fall guy had the Dragons secured Hayne.
Dufty had sought out the Dragons senior football staff to seek confirmation about his future.
Dragons director of pathways and list management Ian Millward labelled "the speculation and misinformation" as "disappointing".
"Matt is contracted for 2019 and will definitely be a part of our squad next year, there has never been any internal discussion that suggested otherwise," Millward told the Dragons website yesterday.
Hayne's arrival at St George Illawarra would have enabled utility Kurt Mann to secure a release from the final year of his contract to take up a multi-year deal to play hooker at Newcastle. But that deal is now uncertain.