Eels needing to defy Hayne hoodoo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels needing to defy Hayne hoodoo

By Steve Jancetic 19/04/2011 06:31:40 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta haven't won a match without Jarryd Hayne in almost three years - but that's exactly what the Eels are facing as they attempt to resurrect their NRL season without their talismanic fullback.

Hayne on Tuesday accepted the early guilty plea and two-week ban for his headbutt on Canterbury forward Corey Payne, the NSW Origin and Test star to miss crucial matches against Gold Coast and premiers St George Illawarra.

The Eels said the risk of burdening Hayne with carry-over points had he unsuccessfully challenged the charge was too great.

"We just didn't feel there was any grounds (on which to challenge) the charge," Eels chief executive Paul Osborne said.

"We didn't want to waste anyone's time.

"You've still got to carry over 70 points if you lose - it's a deterrent."

Hayne's unavailability is a massive blow to a blue and gold outfit needing to turn its season around in a hurry if it is to stay in touch with the finals contenders.

The Eels have won only two matches in 2011, and their last win without Hayne in the side was in June 2008 - when the former international footballer of the year was still flittering between centre and wing.

Since then the Eels have gone none from four without Hayne, with hooker Casey McGuire adamant Sunday's game against the Titans was an opportunity to prove Parramatta was no one-man team.

"I don't think we rely on him too much," McGuire said.

"Jarryd does do a lot - he is obviously the star of the team - but we've got guys who can step up and contribute to a win.

"We're probably getting desperate (for a win) pretty soon ... if we start playing for the 80 minutes, the wins will come."

Payne accepted the early guilty plea to a one week ban for the high tackle which provoked Hayne, and will miss Saturday night's clash against South Sydney on Saturday night.

Wests Tigers will contest the grading of Chris Heighington's high tackle charge on Wednesday night in a bid to avoid suspension, the Tigers lock the first player to appear before the NRL judiciary this season.

Canberra pivot Josh McCrone, Newcastle forward Steve Southern and Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen all escaped suspension after entering early guilty pleas.

South Sydney backrower Michael Crocker has until midday Wednesday to make a plea after he was charged with a grade one dangerous throw on St George Illawarra winger Jason Nightingale in the Dragons' 16-0 win on Monday night.

Crocker will be free to tackle the Bulldogs this weekend if he accepts the early plea.

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