Hayne on path to greatness: Hindmarsh - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hayne on path to greatness: Hindmarsh

By Greg Buckle 02/09/2009 07:23:23 PM Comments (0)

Darren Lockyer and Andrew Johns are NRL greats but Jarryd Hayne, he's a bit different.

Parramatta second-rower Nathan Hindmarsh says Hayne, who has been in electrifying form to guide the Eels to seven successive victories, is on the path from superstardom to NRL immortality.

In a season marred by a series of off-field scandals, including a player defecating in a hotel and others on assault charges, the Eels fullback has helped spark a spike in crowd attendances in 2009.

Asked if Hayne could become the game's best-ever player, Hindmarsh said on Wednesday: "I can't see why not, yeah.

"Darren Lockyer is a great player.

"But some of the things Haynesy does make him a bit different.

"You can't go past (Andrew) Joey Johns. He has done some brilliant things as well.

"But not as consistently. In his last seven or eight weeks and Origin as well, it has been a while since I've seen someone like him (Hayne)."

Speaking at a press conference to celebrate some good news about crowd and TV figures, Hindmarsh said Hayne could "definitely" take his game to a level never seen in the NRL.

"Haynesy is just a bloke who is not scared to play what he sees," said Hindmarsh, a veteran of more than 250 NRL games.

"You get the odd bloke who can see it there but he goes oh no, I'm not going to try it because it might not work.

"But he just goes for it and he pulls them off.

"If he can keep doing it next year and win us a grand final, anything can happen.

"He's one of the best I've ever seen, at the moment.

"The hard thing about NRL football is people find out how good you're going and they try to stop you.

"It's a big test for him on Friday night. We'll see how he goes there (against St George Illawarra)."

Hindmarsh says he can't explain why sixth-placed Parramatta have gone from also-rans to the competition's hottest team.

"Nothing was said. It was just one of those things that happens," he said.

"It's just very weird. During the year we weren't far off winning games.

"Finally it clicked seven weeks ago.

"It helps having Haynesy playing some awesome footy."

Hindmarsh said he wasn't surprised at the game's resilience despite a series of player-behaviour scandals.

"The game has been through a heap this year," he said.

"I suppose there was a point there where a lot of people wondered what was going on. But the game has turned its way around.

"We are playing some good footy and that's what people want to see."

Hindmarsh, Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs) and Wendell Sailor (St George Illawarra) fronted the media on Wednesday as their club nominees for the Ken Stephen Medal for outstanding community service.

"Ever since becoming a parent, I've been more involved in that sort of stuff, in the last four years," Hindmarsh said of his hospital visits.

The NRL's three-millionth fan of the season is set to attend a game this weekend.

Crowds are up 2.12 per cent on 2008, lifting the average figure per game to 15,952.

AFL attendances are marginally down by comparison but their average figure is still more than double the NRL equivalent per game.

"I'd like to think some of this stuff will make some of our critics eat some of their words. But the fact is we have had some issues this year that we need to get on top of as best we can," NRL chief David Gallop said.

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