Despite the Parramatta Eels finishing last on the ladder in 2012, fullback Jarryd Hayne is leading the pack in voting for the 2013 All Stars team.
The NSW Origin player had polled 9000 votes as stage one voting drew to an end at midnight on Monday.
Hayne’s NSW teammate on the opposite wing, Akuila Uate, was in second.
On Uate’s tail was St George Illawarra’s Brett Morris, the man who replaced Uate in game three of the Origin series.
But the good news surrounding Hayne will do little to lift the mood of Eels coach Ricky Stuart and the club board.
Israel Folau talks continue to be dragged out with NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert refusing to budge on his hard line stance.
Schubert has put a $400,000 a year price tag on Folau and won’t let the Eels sign him for anything less.
The club have requested to pay the former GWS Giants player less than the required price for the 2013 season and back-pay his contract in future seasons.
Despite similar concessions being granted to former players Mark Gasnier (St George Illawarra), Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights) and Darren Lockyer (Brisbane Broncos), the Australian Rugby League Commission have indicated they will not make the same concessions for Folau and the Eels.
Should the deal not be sanctioned, Folau may be forced to look at options in rugby union or overseas.
Israel’s younger brother, John, is currently signed with the Eels.