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Hayne says his absence can help Eels

Ben Horne 20/04/2011 05:35:22 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne fears suspension could ruin his Test aspirations, but believes his Eels team-mates can turn his enforced holiday into something positive.

The Eels desperately need to get their NRL season on track on Sunday against the Gold Coast, but must do it without their most influential player.

Hayne was rubbed out for two matches after the club decided not to contest his headbutt of Canterbury forward Corey Payne.

The Eels have not won without Hayne for nearly three seasons, but in many respects, the No.1 sees his absence as a potential blessing in disguise.

While he concedes the spell could cost him an Australian jumper, Hayne says his Eels team-mates can at least benefit from the challenge.

Parramatta players have admitted they often rely too much on their main man and Hayne acknowledged the habit needs to be broken.

"It's (a big loss for the club) but I think all the boys really need to find some form so hopefully this will make them stand up with me not being there," Hayne said on Wednesday.

"I think everyone in the team can really step up now and really take it upon themselves to stamp their authority on the team.

"It's a different way to get the best out of the team, realising I'm not there, and just other players having to really stamp their mark on the game."

Hayne was selected in last year's mid-season Test victory over New Zealand, but missed out on the losing Four Nations campaign after being ruled out with a hamstring injury.

The 23-year-old's two week ban means he won't get another chance to impress selectors before the Kangaroos team is picked at the end of round eight ahead of the Test at Skilled Park on May 6.

He concedes reclaiming his wing spot could now prove difficult, with St George Illawarra stars Brett Morris and Darius Boyd leading the list of contenders.

"I haven't really been thinking about it but it probably will harm my chances," Hayne said.

"It's up to the selectors, I can't really do anything.

"I think there's other players that are in great form so I'm just worried about getting myself fit in these next two weeks and really training hard and keeping my focus on footy."

Luke Burt will replace Hayne at fullback this week and predicted reverting to the back will improve his own game.

Burt doesn't believe suspension should cost his team-mate Australian selection.

"I'd like to hope not, for Haynesy's sake. I think he was in the side last year so hopefully that counts for something," said the Eels veteran, who is excited by the challenge of filling the No.1 shirt.

"I get to roam around a lot more, I've got a bit more free reign of where I can go on the field."

Eels five-eighth Daniel Mortimer is one who believes Parramatta can improve their overall game without Hayne present.

"Absolutely, we probably depended on Jarryd too much and he's a great player there's no doubt, he's the best in our side," he said.

"But it's a really good chance for some of the other boys to step up and get some confidence in our team."

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