Elliott touts lesser lights for derby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elliott touts lesser lights for derby

By Steve Jancetic 26/08/2009 02:13:28 PM Comments (0)

It's being billed as Jarryd Hayne v Michael Jennings, but Penrith coach Matthew Elliott claims Friday night's NRL western derby won't be decided by the NSW Origin teammates.

With the finals hopes of both sides on the line, Elliott believes it is the performances of the men around the in-form duo who will determine the outcome of the Parramatta Stadium clash.

Hayne has been in career-best form over the last two months, sparking Parramatta to a six-game winning streak which has the Eels of the brink of what would be an amazing finals appearance.

So hot has his form been that there have been reports the 22-year-old will sign contracts that could see him earn up to $1 million a season, with the Eels looking to ward off advances from rugby union.

But Elliott is equally wary of the likes of Feleti Mateo, Krisnan Inu and Daniel Mortimer - players the Panthers coach knows can take apart his side if given half a chance.

"We've got to make sure our team strategies aren't just focussed on one particular player," Elliott said.

"There's too many good players in that side."

But that's not to say the Eels No.1 is being ignored.

"We're going to have to be conscious of him because he's playing too well," Elliott said.

"You can't ignore someone like Hayne.

"He's a fantastic player - it's great for the sport that we've got players like him running around."

Elliott knows he has his own x-factor in Jennings, who did a Hayne on Parramatta back in round 17 when he singlehandedly destroyed the Eels with a hat-trick of tries in Penrith's 38-34 win.

But Elliott isn't banking on another bagful for his electrifying centre, who terrorised opposite number Joel Reddy in their last encounter.

"Joel Reddy's a good player - I don't think we'll see Jenno score a hat-trick this week," Elliott claimed.

"They'll have Jenno covered - we've just got to make sure all our other players play well."

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