The NRL’s prodigal son Jarryd Hayne has signed a two-year deal with the Gold Coast Titans — and the comedians of social media are all making the same joke about his decision.
Hayne made headlines both in Australia and abroad when he sensationally quit the Parramatta Eels in 2014 to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
He played eight games in his first NFL season with the San Francisco 49ers, generating plenty of interest in gridiron in Australia, but he struggled to find his place with the team and was eventually cut from the roster.
In May, Hayne announced that he was retiring from the NFL to pursue another dream — to play in the Olympic rugby sevens with Fiji.
Last month, it was announced that Hayne had failed to make the Olympic squad, and rumours began to swirl that Hayne would either return to the Parramatta Eels or play Super Rugby with the New South Wales Waratahs.
This morning, however, Hayne announced that he has signed with the Gold Coast Titans for $1.2 million per season — although he didn’t seem entirely sold on the idea at his introductory press conference.
“There were a few clubs that offered straight away but I always wanted to go back to Parra,” he admitted.
“I was waiting for Parra’s offer. I was waiting. I was waiting. I was waiting. It got to the point where I was having lunch with [Eels captain] Timmy [Mannah] on Monday and I said, ‘What’s going on? Are you guys going to offer me a contract or not?’
“At the end of the day I had to make a decision. It’s obviously torn me apart. It was tough emotionally, but deep down it’s the right one.”
Naturally, Hayne invoked his dreams when discussing his decision to sign with the Gold Coast.
“Not in my wildest dreams I thought I’d be up here on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“I guess everything happens for a reason. Part of me is sad because I’m not going to go back to the club that I grew up with and that I loved as a kid. But there is the excitement as well of joining the Titans.
“At the end of the day I wanted to play footy this year. The way that the board is at Parra and the things that have gone on there this year, we couldn’t get anything done. It’s sad and it hurts me just as much as I know it hurts the fans down there.
“It’s sad. It hurts, but hopefully they can get it right. They need to get that in-house stuff right.”
The deal is for the next two seasons, as well as the remainder of the 2016 season. Titans chief executive Graham Annesley said Hayne has made himself available for selection this Sunday against the New Zealand Warriors, but coach Graham Henry said that will depend on his star recruit’s physical condition.
As you’d expect, the response to the signing on social media has been swift, and pretty much everybody is making the exact same joke.
— Scott Bailey (@scottybailey313) August 2, 2016
— steve_philp (@steve_philp) August 2, 2016
— NRL Memes & Humour (@NRLRLMemes) August 3, 2016
I will say one good thing about #Hayne going to the Titans… He'll have the best access to Dreamworld.
— Dat Dragons Dude (@dragonsfan1988) August 2, 2016
— Lisa Herbertson (@Herbmonster) August 2, 2016
So happy for Jarred Hayne! He now lives so close to Dreamworld! #matchmadeinheaven
— Rooster (@RoseBayBoy) August 3, 2016
— willy g (@SonnysCorner888) August 3, 2016
Great line I heard from opposition player agent – "appropriate Jarryd Hayne is headed to Gold Coast – the home of DREAMWORLD" #HaynePlane
— Zane Bojack (@zanofc) August 3, 2016
To celebrate Jarryd Hayne's arrival on the Gold Coast, Dreamworld will be renamed "Lifelong Dreamworld".
— Broken News (@BrokenNewsAU) August 3, 2016
— Leonard R. Gregory (@LeonardRGregory) August 2, 2016
Jarryd Hayne announced as the new mascot for @Dreamworld_AU where everyone has a dream!
— Felicity Threadgate (@FThreadgate) August 2, 2016
Even Dreamworld got in on the act…
— Dreamworld (@Dreamworld_AU) August 3, 2016
Are you excited Hayne has signed with the Titans? Have your say in the comments below!