Eels a better side than 2007: Hayne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels a better side than 2007: Hayne

By Todd Balym 14/09/2009 05:13:28 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne declared the Eels more confident and under less pressure than the last time they were chasing NRL grand final glory in 2007.

Written off and battling to avoid the wooden spoon just 10 weeks ago, the Eels are now major contenders after clinically dispatching minor premiers St George Illawarra on Sunday.

They will play Gold Coast in Friday's semi-final, with the winner to face the Bulldogs for a place in the decider.

The last time the Eels were this close to a premiership was in 2007 when they fell at the final hurdle in a tight preliminary final loss to the Storm in Melbourne.

"I think we're probably a bit more confident," said Hayne when asked to compare 2007 to now.

"There were things we did in `07 that I've certainly learnt from. I do feel a bit more confident.

"Obviously there is (less pressure too) because there is no expectation on us. Whatever we do this year is a bonus."

Adding to Hayne's confidence is his belief that their stunning 25-12 win over the Dragons would have been enough to beat any team in the NRL and win the premiership.

"I think we probably reached it yesterday, we just have to keep that intensity up and keep the mentality up and I'm sure we will go a long way," said Hayne, who scored a scintillating solo try to cap the result.

"Obviously if we keep playing like that in the next game we will go a long way.

"When the pressure is on us we rise to the occasion which is something that we sort of lacked over the last two years.

"It is really good to get that vibe."

Centre Joel Reddy vowed there would be no complacency going into the clash with the Gold Coast, especially considering the Titans have been the Eels' bogey team, winning all three clashes since their inception in 2007.

"There's still six teams in the comp, everyone has a crack at it, everyone has an equal chance," said Reddy.

"We just have to beat the Titans this Friday and then assess the situation after that.

"If we don't get past this week then we are no chance of winning.

"We have come from so far away, it is just one game at a time."

And he has guaranteed the job is not finished, especially having come from 15th to title contenders.

"There is still a lot to do. You don't want to be sitting in this position and think you've over-achieved," said Reddy.

"It is a bit surprising. I don't know, I think it was 100-1 and it was probably deservedly so the way we were playing but it's been a great turn around and we've been enjoying the ride."

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