Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne says he’s primed for a big finish to his 2014 NRL campaign after sparking the Eels to a crucial win over Gold Coast.
Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne believes the decision to rest him following his State of Origin exploits will prove a masterstroke by season’s end.
Hayne sat out the Eels’ heavy round 18 defeat to the Warriors in Auckland following Origin III in Brisbane but showed why he could drive the Eels to the finals in Saturday’s 24-18 win over Gold Coast.
The 26-year-old turned the match on its head in the 54th minute when he palmed away NSW teammate Greg Bird before sprinting 70m to level the scores at 12-all in a crucial match for both teams.
He backed up that effort seven minutes later when he charged onto a pass from Chris Sandow from just outside the 10m line to put the Eels ahead for the first time in the match.
While some eyebrows were raised by Eels’ decision to rest him earlier this month, the fullback believes it’ll bring out his best over the last rounds of the home and away campaign.
“We really had a plan for this, for my body to feel fresh coming into the back end of the year and having a week off after Origin is part of that process,” Hayne said.
“The way my body is and previously with injuries, we knew that it’d be the best for me and the team.”
Gold Coast co-captain Nate Myles was caught on a referee’s microphone labelling the superstar “arrogant” during the first half, but Hayne said his second-half exploits hadn’t come as a response to that jibe.
Instead he says he’s just keen to continue Parramatta’s climb from cellar-dwellers to finals contenders.
“I really feel that we’re still at the bottom of the mountain,” he said.
“There’s still a long way to go for us to climb and be a consistent team. That’s the end goal.”
The defeat is the Titans’ seventh at home in a row – an unwanted club record.
Coach John Cartwright said Hayne had been the difference in the game and refused to rule a line through his team’s sputtering campaign just yet.
“We’re competing reasonably well, obviously we’re going to have to turn things around as far as winning games and winning here at home,” Cartwright said.
“No-one’s given up. I can guarantee that.”