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Hayne looking forward to Slater re-match

By Laine Clark 10/06/2010 06:24:08 PM Comments (0)

With friends like Billy Slater, it seems NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne doesn't need enemies.

Just days after being cleared of headbutting his Origin rival in their now infamous NRL stoush, Hayne did his best to assure everyone on Thursday that he enjoyed a "fun rivalry" with Slater.

But the Parramatta flyer was sheepish when asked if the pair disliked each other - and claimed he looked forward to their "re-match" in next week's State of Origin II clash in Brisbane.

Hayne was all smiles at NSW training on Thursday, 48 hours after being cleared of headbutting Melbourne fullback Slater by the NRL judiciary.

Adding to his obvious joy was receiving the "massive honour" of wearing the No.1 NSW jersey for the first time in his nine-game Origin career.

But the 22-year-old became guarded when inevitably asked about Slater.

According to Hayne, the pair leave their rivalry on the field.

However, he admitted Slater did not accept his on-field apology after their NRL clash last Friday night and that they hadn't spoken since.

"Yeah, he was a bit upset," Hayne laughed, when asked about their NRL duel.

"I just wanted to calm him down, say sorry - I don't think he accepted that.

"I haven't spoken to him (since). I might say hello after the game.

"There was niggle the whole game but nothing unusual - bit of rivalry and bit of fun for the spectators.

"I am sure a lot of people are anticipating, I guess you can call it a re-match (on Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium).

"But there was nothing in it - it's just footy".

But it appears there has been no love lost between the pair since the Eels-Storm game.

Hayne's Parramatta teammates were quick to label Slater a "sledger" after the fiery clash.

And Willie Tonga claimed on Thursday that Queensland teammate Slater had revealed plenty of ill-feeling still remained between the rival fullbacks.

Asked if they disliked each other, Hayne said: "You are always going to have that bit of niggle.

"I suppose we are creating a pretty good rivalry against each other.

"It's all friendly, left on the field. When we are off it we are pretty mature about things - it is what it is."

But Hayne admitted no other rival NRL fullback had dished up the flak he received from Slater last week.

"Not really," he said.

"(But) it was a bit of friendly banter.

"Well, not friendly banter. Maybe sporting banter, just trying to put someone off their game."

Hayne was also unconvincing when quizzed on whether they even got along in camp as Australian teammates.

"If you are wearing the same jersey ... you always go out there like you are good mates - that's part of a team sport," said Hayne, who had been relegated to the Test wing spot by Slater despite winning 2009's Dally M Medal and International Player of the Year.

"We know of each other. When you play wing you are always speaking to your fullback - it's not like I don't talk to him."

It won't be just Slater giving him a warm reception on Wednesday night.

"The crowd is going to be pretty rowdy. They are going to get a bit vocal when me and Billy come into contact," Hayne laughed.

"The (Suncorp Stadium) fans always go crazy - it's what you live for."

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