Kearney unsure over Hayne switch - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kearney unsure over Hayne switch

By Ian McCullough 21/07/2011 06:14:41 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney admits he's undecided about keeping Jarryd Hayne at five-eighth, but has been impressed by the way the NSW star has adapted to the role.

Hayne has played the past two matches in the halves and was in fine form against Wests Tigers in round 18 and in last week's heartbreaking golden-point loss to Penrith.

He will start in the No.6 shirt against Canterbury on Friday but Kearney refused to say if he saw the 23-year-old in the position full time.

"We haven't made that call yet. It is a week to week proposition, and we think it will work best for us this week," Kearney said on Thursday.

"He is enjoying it, which is a real bonus, and what it does give us is that Luke Burt's last two or three performances at fullback have been his best this year.

"It is no coincidence, as he can push up around the footy and that is what works for the group and will stay the case for the time being."

The Eels were just one second from securing back-to-back victories for the first time this year against the Panthers, only to concede a controversial late try scored by Lachlan Coote, before Luke Walsh kicked a golden-point field goal.

The defeat, which denied skipper Nathan Hindmarsh a win in his 300th game, left the side devastated, but Kearney said he had no difficulties in raising his players for Friday's game.

"The spirits have been good but I must say it has been a bit like that for us for six weeks. We're mindful of where we are and what we need to improve on," he said.

"We are making little steps to make sure we're right for this week."

The Bulldogs sit one place above the Eels in 12th spot on the ladder, and Kearney is expecting a reaction from last week's defeat to the Warriors, with caretaker coach Jim Dymock having a full week to work with the players.

"They've had a big change last week with Kevvy (Moore) moving on, but what we do know about the 'Dogs is that they are very dangerous with their backs against the wall," he said.

"That's what makes them a wonderful club, and they will come out fighting."

Kearney also denied the Eels would target Bulldogs' fullback Ben Barba, who has struggled terribly in recent weeks under the high ball.

"We don't focus too much on one player. We're more interested in what works for us," he said.

"I know when they played Penrith the other week, he got tested with a lot of high balls.

"But Penrith play like that every week. It is not part of our focus to worry about one player."

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