Eels No.1 spot up for grabs
RUGBY LEAGUE: Whether Jarryd Hayne lands at Parramatta or not, there’s a battle on for the Eels’ No.1 jumper that is threatening to take centre stage out west.
Rumours continue to link the club’s one-time favourite son Hayne to a move back to the blue and gold, despite the Eels refusing to shed any light on the matter.
Club boss Bernie Gurr reiterated yesterday he would not be confirming or denying interest in the multi-code star.
“We don’t discuss our recruitment strategy publicly. This is not the forum today,” Gurr said.
But Hayne or no Hayne, coach Brad Arthur has a headache on who to hand the fullback spot to in 2018.
Clint Gutherson and Bevan French have their hands high in the air, and are locked in an intense battle for the custodian position.
Gutherson was a revelation at fullback this year when he was thrown into the position to replace the injured French in round six.
He eventually stole the jumper from French altogether and was going great guns until a serious knee injury ended his season in round 20.
He only began running again last week, but is gunning for a round one return and wants to reclaim the No.1 spot.
But French has something to say about that.
“There’s been a little bit (of banter) ... he only just started running this week so I’ve given him the heads up that I’m a few weeks ahead of him,” French said.
“But knowing him he’ll come back and probably flog everyone in fitness like he does. I may as well enjoy the banter while I can while he can’t run.
“Whichever position I’m given I’ll do my best in that position ... I’m not too fussed to be honest.”
Whether French will openly admit it or not, his desired position is fullback.