Time for Hayne to match hype: Bellamy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Time for Hayne to match hype: Bellamy

By Steve Jancetic 02/10/2009 04:59:00 PM Comments (0)

With the biggest day of the NRL season his stage, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says the pressure is on Parramatta ace Jarryd Hayne to live up to the tag of the game's best player.

A day after Hayne taunted the Storm with his "good luck" reply to claims Melbourne had come up with a plan to stop him, Bellamy said there was now a burden of expectation on the classy fullback to come up with the goods on grand final day.

"There's a lot of expectations on him - the form he's been in and being the Dally M winner," Bellamy said.

"He's been voted the best player in our game. He'll be expected to perform like that on Sunday night. He's certainly been in rare form over the last six to eight weeks."

That rare form has propelled the Eels into Sunday's decider and left Bellamy and his coaching staff with a massive headache.

Hayne led the league in tackle breaks and line breaks in 2009, while some of his tries - like the one in the qualifying final against St George Illawarra when he beat seven players - had to be seen to be believed.

With so much of the Storm's focus this week being on coming up with a method of containing the immensely talented custodian, there are fears the `Hayne factor' could weigh heavily on the minds of some Melbourne players.

"You need some of it going into your head because at the end of the day we need to control him as best we can - he's certainly a talented player," Bellamy said.

"Everyone knows that he's there and everyone knows what he can do so you've got to discuss him because if you don't, if you don't think about him, he ain't just going to go away.

"But they've got 16 other players too and they're in good form as a team. We won't overemphasise him but we're not going to pretend he isn't playing."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith admitted trying to stop Hayne was an exercise in futility.

Smith conceded that the task was all about damage control against a player who has put together the most remarkable back half to a season ever witnessed.

"We've got to minimise what he does, not try and take him out of the game," Smith said.

"It's hard - even Jarryd said that when he's got the ball sometimes he gets a little bit confused with what he's doing, so if he doesn't know what he's doing, we don't know what he's doing."

It's a sentiment shared by Eels coach Daniel Anderson, but it is not just Hayne who has a licence to do as he pleases.

Rather, Anderson has given the entire side a free rein, a mentality that stems from the nothing to lose approach the side adopted when their season seemed over a matter of months ago.

"We don't go out there and go `right we're going to do 40 offloads in a game," Anderson said.

"We like to promote the ball that is there and it's what has got us to this point and something we will endeavour to do on Sunday.

"The game plan is not to offload the ball versus Melbourne, the game plan is to play what is in front of you."

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