Reigning world No.1 rugby league player Johnathan Thurston admits he does not know how to stop NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne ahead of Origin II.
It’s official – no one can stop NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne.
Well, it certainly feels that way for rugby league’s reigning world No.1 player Johnathan Thurston.
The Queensland pivot admitted Hayne was the difference in the Blues’ gutsy 12-8 State of Origin series opening win.
And he should know.
Man-of-the-match Hayne mercilessly targeted Thurston in defence, twice breaking free of the Maroons playmaker in the lead-up to NSW’s only tries.
Add to that his seven total misses in defence and two botched conversion attempts and it is fair to say Thurston had an uncharacteristically bad game one.
Thurston knows what is coming in next week’s must-win game two in Sydney – and he admits he doesn’t know how to stop it.
“We have to try and nullify Haynesy at the back, which seems impossible at the moment,” Thurston said.
“They certainly came at us down our left edge in game one.
“Their gameplan centres around getting the ball to Jarryd Hayne in space and they executed that very well and that was the difference on the night.”
Two-time Dally M Medallist and Golden Boot winner Thurston again had no answers when his NRL club Cowboys were downed last round by a Hayne-inspired Parramatta.
“There is not much you can do about it,” Thurston said when asked about stopping Hayne, who also has 10 tries, nine try assists and 56 tackle breaks to date this NRL season.
“He is playing the best footy I have ever seen him play.
“I always look forward to the challenge of coming up against him.
“He is NSW’s ‘go to’ man, and why wouldn’t they? No doubt we will have our hands full again.
“(But) it’s not going to all fall on my shoulders.
“It’s backs against the wall for all of us.”