Hayne battles toughest NRL season yet - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hayne battles toughest NRL season yet

By Nick Perry 18/08/2011 05:44:57 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne says the Eels' disastrous season and his switch to five-eighth have resulted in some of the toughest times of his NRL career.

The Eels dropped a surprise halftime lead over Manly last weekend to lose 26-20, a week after suffering an embarrassing 50-point thrashing at the hands of South Sydney.

The loss to the Sea Eagles was their seventh since round 12 by six points or less.

Parramatta lead fellow wooden-spoon contenders Gold Coast by just a point as they prepare for a tough match on Sunday against red-hot West Tigers.

Hayne said the Eels' woeful season had been one of the "hardest times in my career".

"You do get some heavy demons," Hayne said at Parramatta Stadium on Thursday.

"It is a tough couple of nights after the game, especially knowing how close you came.

"Not getting the result, that's probably the hardest thing."

The State of Origin star said he had been "enjoying the challenge" of playing five-eighth after recently switching to the play-maker position from fullback, but had some work to do on his running game.

"That's probably something that I've lacked a little bit in the five-eighth role, and something I probably did a bit more in the fullback role," Hayne said.

"That's probably something that I've wanted to work on and take note of each week and put more into my game."

"I enjoy watching (Darren) Lockyer, (Johnathan) Thurston and Benji (Marshall) in that position and trying to learn as much as I can off them."

Hayne will get every opportunity to watch Marshall in action when he plays opposite the superstar No.6 against the Tigers, who are chasing their sixth straight win.

Eels coach Stephen Kearney said he expected Hayne would run the ball more against the Tigers.

"I know a number of people have been quite critical of his game recently, and I know he wasn't happy with his game on Saturday night against Manly," Kearney said.

"Five-eighth is the best position for Jarryd at our footy team at the club at the moment.

"Whether he's there in six months' time, 12 months' time I couldn't tell you.

"We'll stick with it until otherwise."

The Eels have bought halves Chris Sandow and Ben Roberts for 2012, while 2009 grand final No.7 Daniel Mortimer will remain at the club on a lucrative deal.

Parramatta added more depth to their playmaking stocks on Thursday with utility Casey McGuire re-signing for the 2012 season.

The 31-year-old veteran is capable of playing hooker and in the halves.

Centre Ben Smith and prop Justin Poore were both absent from training but were expected to play this weekend, Kearney said.

Smith was resting from muscle tightness while Poore is recovering from a virus that saw him sidelined with dizzy spills prior to the Manly match.

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