Parramatta great Peter Sterling has suggested the Eels could chase a top shelf NRL playmaker with the money opened up by Jarryd Hayne’s departure.

Parramatta great Peter Sterling has urged club bosses to splurge the salary cap cash made available by the exit of Jarryd Hayne on a gun halfback.

Speaking on radio station Triple M, the Eels’ last premiership winning halfback said bolstering the halves was a high priority for the NRL club, suggesting Chris Sandow had yet to fully prove himself in the No.7 jumper.

“I have said before Chris Sandow played some really good football this year; I am yet to be convinced (he is the answer),” Sterling said.

“He did come off a good season and a lot of that had to do with the blokes around him and the coaching.

“I thought (coach) Brad Arthur got that part of it right, stripping back his game and Corey Norman and Jarryd Hayne taking control.

“But if there is a young half out there you could invest in someone like a Ben Hunt or whatever I think that is something Parramatta would need to look at.”

Hunt is signed to Brisbane until the end of 2017, but a phalanx of star halves are off contract at the end of next season including Trent Hodkinson, Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds.

If the Eels were to chase a fullback to replace Hayne, Sterling said they may benefit from the Broncos’ surfeit of custodians, possibly snaring Josh Hoffman or Ben Barba if they were to become available.

With Hayne’s departure freeing up at least $1 million a year Sterling said the Eels could improve in a number of key positions.

He envisaged winger Will Hopoate filling Hayne’s vacated No.1 jersey, and some other spots opening up in the starting side.

“That is where he (Hopoate) played all his junior football so maybe you are looking at a class centre, maybe in the halves, a back-rower possibly,” Sterling said.

“With the money being freed up that is great, that is the positive of Jarryd going. The Eels are now financially very well placed, what you do with the money is now a very important thing.”

Sterling said he was sad to see Hayne go, but gave the move his blessing.

“Ultimately good on him,” Sterling said.

“As a Parramatta fan I am disappointed he won’t be in the colours next year, especially coming off the kind of season that he did have where he was the dual Dally M winner.

“He obviously put together an outstanding year personally and it will be tough to win games without him but I am rapt that he is going and I think he has done it with some style.”