His heart has forever been a part of the Parramatta Eels since he was 12 years old as he has been playing for them since that age, but several factors are making him think about the future.

A sticking point in the whole situation is given that Hayne has seen two former league players in Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau leave to play in the AFL, and it has prompted Hayne to believe that the NRL’s players do not come first.

“Let’s not beat around the bush,” Hayne said.

“Quite frankly, it’s obvious that the NRL comes first, then the leagues club, then the players. That’s the pecking order. It’s becoming more and more clear.”

Hayne intends to fulfill his contract until the end of 2013, but he says that the prospect of a new challenge after that time is intriguing, and it may just pull him away from the NRL.

For Hayne, he feels that once he has achieved everything in the NRL that he can, and depending on how Hunt and Folau go in the NRL, then that will ultimately determine his final decision.

“For sure, 100 per cent [I will closely watch how Karmichael and Israel go],” Hayne said. “It’s something I’ve obviously thought about, too.

“I’m not blind to the situation. I will have to see how they go, what happens with them, how I am feeling, what I want to do, it’s all about how I feel at the time.

“If I feel satisfied with what I’ve done in league, I’ll have to be the judge then. At the moment, my full focus is on Parramatta and my contract until 2013.”

For Hayne, the constant criticism and blame that was heaped upon him in season 2010 following the Eels up-and-down season did not perturb him.

“It wasn’t really much for me, you know,” Hayne said. “At the end of the day, you have to remember why you are playing rugby league.

“As some players get older, they tend to forget why they do it – they think about the money, the media, the pressure and impressing people rather than having fun. I’m all about having fun. I enjoy playing with mates and that’s why I’m still at the Hills.”

Hayne, who started out as a junior and has been with the Eels for a decade is becoming increasingly frustrated with the salary cap, in light of the drawn out Greg Inglis saga, and now the more recent Braith Anasta saga.

“It’s the salary cap,” Hayne said. “There’s no other reason. If you ever see people walk away, changing clubs, that’s the way it is.

“If more focus was put on the players, you’d see more players staying in the game and you would see more players wanting to come to the game … there are a lot of people in rugby who would love to play rugby league, but I guess it’s the money factor.”

In Origin, Hayne has praised the NSW Rugby League and NSW football in general for appointing a sole coach, as both he, and the other players aim to end their dominance.

“[Queensland] are an awesome team,” Hayne said. “An awesome group with an awesome cohesion in everything they do.

“But with Ricky Stuart being appointed full-time NSW coach, he has a lot of time to help us gel and methods now to mix and match before the Origin starts.”

Hayne is also more than aware that he has competition for the NSW Fullback jersey with Josh Dugan and Lachlan Coote breathing down his neck for Origin 2011.

“It’s great to have people fighting for positions,” he said.

“Especially in Origin, it makes you become a better player. In 2009, when I was having that good run, I remember Billy [Slater] saying that seeing me go good made him want to do better.”

“You don’t want to rest on your laurels and think it is a given. I have to work hard. Josh is a great player coming through and Lachlan Coote is there also.”

Whilst he was eager to play in the Four Nations, it was a hamstring tear that ruled him out of the competition, but for Hayne, he sees it as a “blessing in disguise”.

“It really just stopped me in my tracks and it gave my legs and body a chance to freshen up,” he said.

The star fullback is also excited about Stephen Kearney being at the helm as Eels coach.

“I am really excited about him being the coach. He’s been good. He hasn’t come in and tried to change my game or anything. He’s tweaking it. He’s a normal coach. I get on with every coach,” he said.

By ricky

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