Eels deny radical shift with Hayne at No.6 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels deny radical shift with Hayne at No.6

Steve Jancetic 11/07/2011 05:49:33 PM Comments (0)

The number may be different, but Parramatta hooker Matt Keating claims not much has changed with Jarryd Hayne's shift from fullback to five-eighth.

Just over a month after distancing himself from claims by NSW coach Ricky Stuart that he was more a pivot than fullback, Hayne turned in a superb performance when switched to five-eighth for Friday night's win over Wests Tigers.

It rejuvenated hope among the Eels faithful that a repeat of their late season heroics of 2009 was on the cards, when Hayne produced one of the most thrilling series of performances to carry his side to a grand final.

But while Hayne dominated proceedings against the Tigers - and is expected to start in the No.6 jumper against Penrith on Saturday night - Keating denied the Eels' game plan had undergone a dramatic transformation.

"He's always in the front line anyway, he's never out the back and he's trying to create things for the team," Keating said.

"It wasn't a big change but you did notice it - especially in defence.

"It's probably a bigger role for him to get the team around the park but there's still another 16 blokes on the field that have got to do their job first."

The Eels won seven of their last eight games to storm into the 2009 finals, and will require a similar run this year.

They head into the last third of the season mired in 13th spot on the ladder, three points behind the eighth-placed Panthers, with Keating adamant they hadn't given up hope.

"Not at all - last week it was win eight from nine - we got the first one out of the way and it's Panthers now and that's where all the focus is this week," Keating said.

"It (the run of 2009) is always in the back of your head, it was such a good run and everyone loved it and was on a high.

"There is confidence there but you've got to look forward to week by week and the Panthers are first."

With halfback Jeff Robson expected to be available after being a late withdrawal from thewin over the Tigers with a hamstring problem, coach Stephen Kearney has a dilemma with regards to his halves for Saturday night.

Should Hayne stay at five-eighth for the remainder of 2011 and make a fist of the position, that headache only grows in 2012 with Ben Roberts and Chris Sandow joining the club next season.

"That's up to Steve and the coaching staff, we've got no control over it," Keating said of Hayne's future at five-eighth.

"If he's at one or he's at six, it doesn't really mater, he's good to have in your team."

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