Parramatta great Peter Sterling has urged his former club not to take a punt on Jarryd Hayne and retain their faith in young guns Clint Gutherson and Bevan French.
Hayne is rumoured to be agitating for a release from the final year of his NRL deal with Gold Coast and is being heavily linked with his ex-club.
The cross-code superstar has denied the speculation and on Thursday senior Titans player Ryan James said Hayne had told the squad he would remain on the Queensland holiday strip in 2018.
The Eels’ interest in Hayne has raised eyebrows given coach Brad Arthur has an embarrassment of riches in the fullback department in French and Gutherson.
Sterling said the club didn’t need another fullback and they were better off spending their money elsewhere.
“With Jarryd coming back, I think we saw in Origin that centre is not his position,” Sterling told Triple M Dead Set Legends on Friday.
“You don’t pay that kind of money for a winger, which means that he would wear the No.1. He’s not going to wear the No.6.
“He’d have to be at the back and Bevan French and Clint Gutherson are great prospects there for a much longer period of time than I think Jarryd would be.”
Hayne has been unsettled on the Gold Coast and his feud with Neil Henry led to the coach’s sacking.
He is reported to be seeking a release on compassionate grounds to be close to his partner and daughter who are planning to move to the Central Coast.
Hayne has occasionally played at five-eighth since his return to rugby league from the NFL and Rugby Sevens last year, including for Fiji at the World Cup.
However, Sterling said with Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman shaping as the Eels’ long-term halves, he couldn’t see where Hayne would fit into their line-up.
“I’ve said before in regards to Parramatta – if you have that money to spend we probably need another class front-rower to bolster that position, maybe an outside back,” Sterling said.
“When these players come on the market, sure they’re attractive because of their ability, but you’ve got to look at what your club actually needs.
“And I don’t think we need a fullback, which is where I see Jarryd still playing his best.”