No Hayne may help Eels halves: captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No Hayne may help Eels halves: captain

David Beniuk 28/04/2011 08:23:32 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta's under-fire halves are getting the perfect chance to find some form in the absence of fullback-cum-playmaker Jarryd Hayne, the Eels' hierarchy believes.

Captain Nathan Hindmarsh says Daniel Mortimer and Jeff Robson have been forced to take the reins with Hayne serving a suspension for headbutting and he believes it will help them step up.

The Eels' scrumbase pairing, which helped take the club to a grand final in 2009, have been accused of thinking too much while on the field.

There's also the added pressure of South Sydney halfback Chris Sandow and former Test star Craig Gower being linked to Parramatta.

"If someone speculated about my position in the team I'd be a bit nervous and feel a bit of pressure but they're handling it very well," Hindmarsh told reporters on Thursday ahead of the clash with premiers St George Illawarra this weekend.

"No one in the team's playing that well so it's a bit hard to criticise our halves for that."

Hindmarsh said Hayne's absence, usually considered a massive blow to the Eels, could be simplifying things for Mortimer and Robson.

"It gives the halves a bit more ball because we did look to Haynesy when we're on our attack and he'd tend to call for the ball a lot more than what our halves did because he was our go-to man," Hindmarsh said.

"It's putting more responsibility on our halves.

"It's just an easy option for our dummy halves as well, only having to hit two players or look for two players.

"Confidence-wise, I think (Mortimer and Robson are) going alright."

Nine Network commentator and former master coach Phil Gould said during last Sunday's scrappy win over Gold Coast the pair looked like they had too much on their minds, suggesting they be allowed to relax.

"I don't think that's an issue," coach Stephen Kearney said.

"There were certain areas of the game last week I know they were disappointed with and it's an ongoing process to get our structure right and make sure that they're an important part of it and their roles within that structure are fulfilled.

"It's not an overnight process, it's something that's going to take a bit of time and I'm sure they'll be better for last week's performance."

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