'We're a better team with him' - Eels skipper backs under fire Jarryd Hayne

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AAP

Parramatta skipper Tim Mannah has come to the defence of marquee man Jarryd Hayne after coach Brad Arthur put the entire Eels squad on notice.

Jarryd Hayne.

Source: Photosport

Arthur has signalled he won't be afraid to ring in changes next year after the club's horror NRL season which sees them sitting in the wooden spoon position with two months remaining.

The Eels last week announced the signing of in-demand Sydney Roosters star Blake Ferguson to a three-year deal.

It brings into question the club's desire to re-sign Hayne and George Jennings, who are off contract at the end of this year.

Star centre Michael Jennings was last week given a reality check after being sent back to reserve grade, fuelling speculation about his long-term future.

As well, Canberra playmaker Blake Austin revealed that he had been sounded out by the Eels, before eventually signing with English Super League club Warrington.

The club's interest in Austin was seen as evidence of the Eels' willingness to move on Corey Norman after it was widely reported he had been told he was free to leave.

With Arthur having lit a fire underneath his squad, Mannah said it was unfair to blame good mate Hayne for all of the side's problems this year.

He pointed to the fact he'd suffered through an injury-plagued year which has seen him make just seven appearances.

"He's been in and out with injury but he's starting to string together some games now," Mannah said.

"Every game he plays he's growing more and more in confidence, he was a big part of our strong performance against the Dragons, he was a real catalyst.

"I'm a big fan of his and it's not my decision but I'll be all for having him in the team. We're a better team with him there."

Asked about the club's interest in Austin, Mannah said Norman had taken it in his stride.

"We're professional athletes, we've got to the stage in our careers where you understand it's just part of the sport," Mannah said.

"The boys have been really professional about the way they've handled themselves and they're focusing all their energy on preparing for footy games."

Asked about possibly losing his halves partner, Mitchell Moses said: "I can't really comment on that, that's what Parramatta want to do and that's in their control.

"I can't really control anything that they do and I've just got to worry about playing footy."

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