Bellamy gives Hayne free rein - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy gives Hayne free rein

By Steve Jancetic 09/06/2010 07:07:42 PM Comments (0)

NSW coach Craig Bellamy won't ask Jarryd Hayne to tone down his aggressive approach with the Blues fullback given the green light to resume his hostile rivalry with Queensland No.1 Billy Slater.

Hayne and Slater will finally line up at opposite ends of the field on rugby league's most intense stage - the scene set for another epic battle between the pair in State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.

The talented custodians - who battled it out for the tag of best in the game and the Australian No.1 jumper last year - came together on several occasions during Friday night's violent grand final rematch at Parramatta Stadium.

The repercussions of the incident-packed match only came to an end on Tuesday night when Hayne was cleared of headbutting Slater, Bellamy vowing to give the Parramatta star free rein on Wednesday week.

"I don't want to rein him into nothing," Bellamy said.

"He's in the team because of what he does on the weekend for Parramatta - why would I want to change that.

"There's obviously a rivalry there and the bigger the stage it's on the better it is."

"I think everyone enjoys a little bit of rivalry, and they're two great players - it would have been a shame if they didn't come together on Wednesday night if Jarryd got suspended."

But Bellamy said he didn't anticipate a repeat of their tit-for-tat attacks from Friday night, denying claims there was a genuine hatred between the pair.

Hayne's headbutt was followed by a retaliatory cocked elbow from Slater which just missed his Eels rival, while the pair were also allegedly involved in a verbal slanging match throughout the contest.

"I think that's the only time that anything's flared up between them," Bellamy said.

"They played in the mid-year Test this year - I'm sure if they disliked each other that much you wouldn't have them in the same team.

"It's just a rivalry that happens on the field for 80 minutes.

"They're probably not best mates ... but I'm sure if they ran into each other in the street they'd say g'day and go and have a cup of coffee and a beer or something.

"I think sometimes it all gets (blown out of proportion) - if there's a rivalry it engulfs your whole life.

"It doesn't - it's 80 minutes."

Away from the match-up with Slater, Bellamy said Hayne's shift to fullback would give the Dally M player of the year more of an opportunity to make an impact on the result.

Hayne presents NSW's most dangerous attacking weapon, and the Blues need the ball in his hands as much as possible if they are to counter the point-scoring brilliance of the star-studded Maroons backline.

"We should be able to get him more involved in the play," Bellamy said of the move - which led to skipper Kurt Gidley being shifted to the bench.

"To his credit, since he's been there the last four, five, six Origin games, for a winger he has had plenty of involvement.

"He won our player of the series - the Brad Fittler Medal - last year, so to do that as a winger is a pretty good effort.

"We've had plans where we've brought him off the wing and got him a little bit more involved in play but I think it's the right time now to put him back at fullback and let him loose at that level."

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