The sexual assault allegations levelled against Jarryd Hayne have the potential to end his sporting career, with Parramatta and St George Illawarra expected to abandon their pursuit of the embattled star’s signature.
Police are investigating an alleged sexual assault that took place in the Hunter region on grand final night. A NSW Police spokeswoman confirmed police were still yet to speak with Hayne, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
The alleged victim was reportedly in contact with Hayne via social media beforehand and claims to have photographic evidence of the injuries she sustained during the alleged incident. She was interviewed by the NRL integrity unit before reporting the matter to police on Monday.
Hayne is currently defending a sexual assault allegation levelled against him in a civil lawsuit launched in the Santa Clara County Court in the US in December last year. The claim relates to an evening in December 2015, while Hayne was playing for the San Francisco 49ers, when he went home with a woman from a San Jose bar and allegedly had non-consensual sex with her.
Micha Liberty, the US lawyer for the woman at the centre of the claim, confirmed to the Herald on Friday that she was aware of the recent allegation in Australia.
"We don't know enough about the facts to comment on the new allegations. I will be following the matter closely to see what develops," she said.
Ms Liberty confirmed the US trial date had been set for January 27, 2020.
Hayne is unemployed after his Eels contract expired at the end of last season. Parramatta had hoped to offer him a new deal for 2019 but were unable to do so because only $200,000 remained in their salary cap. It is well short of the $700,000 the 30-year-old was seeking, although the blue and golds were hoping to offload a player to free up the required funds.
The Herald understands the Eels have decided to abandon their pursuit of Hayne after the latest allegations surfaced. Several officials remained unsure if he would fit in with the new culture the wooden spooners were trying to instill. There were also concerns about his fitness after he missed the start of pre-season, including a team camp in Armidale.
Hayne had been training with sprint coach Roger Fabri in a bid to remain fit but it’s understood those sessions were few and far between.
While Hayne isn’t a contracted Eels player, the club still made welfare support available to him after the latest claims were levelled on Thursday night.
Like Parramatta, the Dragons are expected to also withdraw their interest in Hayne. The Red V had met with Hayne about the prospect of taking one of the backline spots vacated by the departure of Nene Macdonald and the retirement of Jason Nightingale. Several rival clubs told the Herald that current fullback Matt Dufty had been made available to them as the Dragons sought to free up the cash to recruit the cross-code star.
St George Illawarra on Friday posted an interview with Dufty on their website in which he said he was reassured he was part of the club’s plans for 2019. Tellingly, the story was posted only after Hayne’s dramas became public.
"I've had a chat with the senior staff members at the club and they have assured me of my spot in 2019 so I'm keen to rip into pre-season and beyond for the Dragons," Dufty said.
"The club reassured me that if anything were to happen that they'd let me know before it hit the papers which is great to hear because I have a great relationship with everyone at the club and I'm looking to ripping in for them and all the boys."
No other NRL club had expressed an interest in Hayne prior to the latest allegations, although he has been linked to a potential switch to French rugby. If Hayne were to be charged, it could end those plans as well. Those facing serious offences can have their visas confiscated or be required to report regularly to local authorities.