Eels declare Hayne their No.1 and only - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels declare Hayne their No.1 and only

By Ben Horne 13/07/2010 06:18:27 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta players have unashamedly declared Jarryd Hayne to be their saviour as they attempt another last-minute dash at the NRL finals.

Athletes often talk up the merits of the team instead of over-praising an individual, but the Eels have no problems admitting Hayne's freakish ability is what can carry them into the top eight.

While stressing the 16 other players wearing blue and gold need to do their job, Mannah said Hayne had the unique ability to almost single-handedly dictate a team's fortunes.

"I think it takes a special player in the competition that can have an effect on a team like that. He's one of those players, when he's firing, he does help the other players through," said Mannah, confident Parramatta's chances are alive again after Hayne's dazzling three-try display against North Queensland on Monday.

"He's unreal. That performance showed what he's capable of, he's the kind of inspirational player that gets the team going and he was on the front foot last night.

"He got everyone else sparkling a bit, the way he was playing so we'll take a lot of confidence out of that."

Mannah went through State of Origin camp with Hayne, and was impressed with the star fullback's maturity.

Last year's Dally M medallist had been under plenty of media pressure, including speculation he was unhappy at the club, but shrugged away all that pressure to return to his best for NSW and the Eels.

"He's a pretty cool head and I think he's matured a lot as a person in the last few years so he knows how to handle himself," Mannah said.

"It was no surprise to see how much of a quality person he is and how well he handled himself.

"I think it takes someone with good leadership skills to be able to choose what he did.

Parramatta lock Feleti Mateo says witnessing Hayne's comeback has inspired the Eels to dig in for each other as they make another late run for the NRL finals.

Just like last year when the Eels came from the clouds to eventually qualify for the grand final, Hayne is again the inspiration.

Mateo said the star fullback has matured into a true leader of the team.

"Yeah, I reckon he does (inspire), I know it lifts myself and makes me want to go harder," he said.

"He does a lot of stuff through his actions, he's matured too so he's talking at the same time, so he's just becoming a better and better player.

"I think the whole team, we're at the point where we have to start winning games and he's just taken on a leadership role and has for a while now so we've just started to talk across the board and it was good that we could take it out there on the field."

While their 36-24 defeat of the Cowboys was only a step in the right direction, Mateo said there were signs their famed attacking streak is back.

"We talked about it heaps during the week, supporting each other and just having a dig and I think we did that," he said.

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