Jarryd Hayne will reportedly join the Parramatta Eels in 2018, but won't ask for a release from the Gold Coast Titans until January.
Reports surfaced earlier this month suggesting the representative fullback wanted out of the Queensland club so he could move back to Sydney to be closer to his family. He denied those allegations but it's been revealed he will be back wearing the blue and gold next season.
The Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield said on NRL 360 on Monday night Hayne was all but guaranteed to play for Parramatta again in 2018, but will wait until early next year before telling his current employer so he can pocket an extra $180,000.
The NRL's financial year runs from November 1 to October 31 and although he won't return to Titans' pre-season training until next year because of his World Cup commitments with Fiji, Hayne still stands to earn plenty of coin while he's away.
Rothfield said the NSW Origin star's bank account will receive a $90,000 injection in November and again in December for "holiday pay" because he is still contracted to the Titans, where he earns a reported $1.2 million a season. If he was to ask the club for an immediate release he would forfeit those payments.
The bonus $180,000 for effectively doing nothing would make it easier for the 29-year-old to take the pay cut that's required to wear the Eels jersey again. It's been reported Parramatta will only pay him $500,000 per season - a substantial drop in income for one of the NRL's few million dollar men.
Hayne is off contract at the end of next season and took up an option in his contract earlier this year to extend his stay on the glitter strip until the end of 2018 - a decision he's set to backflip on.
Per the Daily Telegraph, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said: "If Jarryd wants to come and play on our terms and if he gets released, we'll obviously be looking at it. We'll see what happens."
NRL great Matthew Johns said although Hayne has played his best football at fullback and is starring at five-eighth for Fiji in its run to the World Cup semi-finals, he sees the two-time Dally M Medal winner slotting into the centres at the Eels.
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"The big point for me is where does he play? He's doing great things for Fiji in the No. 6 jersey but (Eels halves) Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman could turn out to be the best halfback and five-eighth combination in the competition," Johns told the Triple M Grill Team on Tuesday.
"I love (Clint) Gutherson at fullback - he's got young legs, he's got plenty of energy in the way he plays, he can pop up all over the field. I think Hayne will play in the centres."
Johns also raised the "awkward" point of who would fork out the $180,000 in holiday pay if Hayne waits until January to ask for a release.
The Titans are in the process of going from an NRL-owned club to a privately-owned club. Former Gold Coast chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle, who stepped down this year, joined a consortium with former co-owner Darryl Kelly to be part of the bidding process for the club, which is expected to be successful.
Johns said the new owners would likely demand the NRL pays Hayne out of its own pocket if he bailed next year.
"For them (the Titans) to read this this morning is an awkward one because they're in a transitional period from the NRL owning the Titans to being handed over to private ownership, which is expected to be Rebecca Frizelle and Darryl Kelly," Johns said.
"If I'm Rebecca Frizelle and Darryl Kelly reading this I'm saying to the NRL, 'You're picking up the tab there, there is no way (we are paying it).'"
Last week Parramatta CEO Bernie Gurr refused to rule out Hayne playing the role of Prodigal Son and returning to the club where he started his NRL career,
Gurr was given the opportunity to shut down speculation at a sponsorship announcement on Wednesday, but said: "We don't discuss our recruitment strategy publicly. This is not the forum today." The position represents a change of tack for Gurr.
In May, he spoke openly about the club's desire to lure Titans hooker Nathan Peats back to the Eels, also revealing then there had been no approach from Hayne.
The Eels have been discouraged to recruit Hayne, with club great Peter Sterling urging them to instead retain their faith in fullback prospects Gutherson and Bevan French.
Both players were reluctant to weigh into Hayne's possible arrival given his contract with the Gold Coast, with Gutherson claiming to have not spoken to teammates about the possibility.
French said he did not believe Hayne was required for premiership success.
"Whether he comes or not, we're pretty happy with what we've got here," French told reporters last week.
"He's got that X-factor about him and he's a freakish player ... (but) if he doesn't come, I don't think we'll be too disappointed.
"We're pretty confident with what we have now."