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Kearney reassures halves

Ed Jackson 09/05/2011 04:48:28 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta coach Steve Kearney is confident his incumbent halves pair will perform in 2011 despite the imminent arrival of Chris Sandow.

The South Sydney halfback is set to join the Eels on a lucrative four-year deal from next NRL season, leaving current No.7 Jeff Robson and five-eighth Daniel Mortimer playing for their futures.

But Kearney says he's spoken to both players and is confident the pair will be focused on turning around the Eels' slow start to the season rather than thinking about Sandow's arrival.

"Unfortunately it's a part of our game where we're able to negotiate with players throughout the year," Kearney told reporters on Monday.

"That hasn't just come upon us, that's been there for a while.

"They (Robson and Mortimer) understand that and I've reassured them they still have a job to do for the team and they've been very positive about that.

"I've made them well aware they need to get their jobs done this week which they need to do every week."

With the Eels sitting 3-5 after eight matches and facing a tough trip to Townsville to take on North Queensland on Saturday, Kearney admitted no-one could afford to look too far ahead.

"We've signed Chris Sandow for 2012," he said.

"We're still working through what we need to get through this year. I'm not even focused on next year.

"Our immediate challenge is the Cowboys this week."

Kearney welcomes back star fullback Jarryd Hayne after his two week ban for a headbutt, while hooker Matt Keating is also on the mend after being out since round four following surgery on a finger that was almost severed due to a dog bite.

Keating is to meet a specialist on Tuesday to have his injury assessed but Kearney said even if the 24-year-old is given the all-clear he's unlikely to play against the Cowboys.

"If he is cleared I think it'll be a week or so before he gets an opportunity to play," Kearney said.

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