Hayne switch pays off for Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hayne switch pays off for Eels

By Steve Jancetic 02/05/2009 01:38:32 PM Comments (0)

Whatever the motivation for the switch, Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson's decision to moved maligned star Jarryd Hayne back to fullback could very well end up being a season-defining one.

For the first time in 2008, Parramatta looked like the side the blue and gold faithful had been hoping to see from the outset as they took care of North Queensland 28-18 at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

The backline was firing from all points of the field with the Cowboys unable to keep a lid on a rampant Hayne, the 21-year-old showing just why NSW selectors had taken a leap of faith in including him in their preliminary 40-man Origin squad.

It also went some way to explaining why Anderson had persisted for so long in his failed attempt to turn Hayne into a five-eighth over the opening month of the season.

That experiment was aborted after the round four loss to Sydney Roosters with Hayne moving out to the centres, but another three straight losses meant something had to give.

"We had to make a decision for him to play fullback - it wasn't done through desperation," Anderson said.

"It's because we think he's fit enough. It's a very, very tough position to play.

"I spoke to Caylo (skipper Nathan Cayless) about it and he thought that Jarryd would give us a bit more impetus on kick returns because he's a big lump and he got us going in the right direction."

Anderson admitted the style of play Hayne displayed against the Cowboys, where he regularly involved himself in the playmaking, was what he had originally been looking for when he moved him into the No.6 jumper during the pre-season.

"Just trying to get him the ball - he's so dangerous," he said.

"It fell his way tonight but he made the most of plays.

"I thought last week Jarryd showed a bit of bite to his competitive nature in the game against the Broncos, especially with the ball in hand."

While Hayne's display no doubt caught the eye, the Eels were also delighted with their stellar defensive effort over the opening 50 minutes when they kept the Cowboys scoreless.

Panic set in late in the game as the Cowboys charged home, the doubts that come with a long losing streak almost getting the better of the Eels.

"We've been copping a bit of stick which is fair enough because our defence hasn't been that good, but it was really good tonight," Cayless said after the game.

"Just a huge relief to get a win for the guys, especially without Hindy (suspended backrower Nathan Hindmarsh), it was great for our confidence that we can win a footy game without Hindy."

For the Cowboys it was a case of might have been, the visitors paying dearly for an early lapse which allowed Parramatta to run up a 14-0 lead after 11 minutes.

Cowboys officials were confident skipper Johnathan Thurston would not need scans after suffering a 'burner' to his shoulder, that news likely to come as welcome relief to Test selectors with Thurston almost certain to be named as Kangaroos halfback on Sunday.

The news wasn't so good for prop Antonio Kaufusi who is set to miss 1-2 weeks with a knee ligament tear.

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