Hayne to Continue Centre/Fullback Role
Jarryd Hayne is expected to continue shifting between centre and fullback for the Parramatta Eels after he and Bevan French used the ploy during Sunday’s 24-14 loss to Penrith Panthers.
While Hayne spent most of the match at right centre, he regularly switched to fullback when the Eels started a set of possession after a penalty or handover, with French moving to right wing and Josh Hoffman shuffling inside to centre.
Hayne and French also swapped positions at the end of defensive sets so that Hayne could return the ball from a kick.
"We had a few plays that if we see something, or that we worked on during the week, I will swap with Bev," Hayne said.
Melbourne Storm tried a similar ploy when Greg Inglis was playing left centre for the club, which involved him dropping to fullback in defence, Billy Slater moving to the wing and Michael Crocker defending in the centre role.
The move enabled the Storm to get Inglis more involved and use his size from kick returns.
Asked how important it was for him to get those touches at fullback, Hayne said: "It is all about the team and whatever I can do to help, that is what I want to do."
Hayne’s first match in the blue-and-gold jersey since 2014 was also his 200th NRL appearance but he was in no mood to celebrate after the loss.
"I think everyone is going to go back disappointed with how we performed," Hayne said. "We worked so hard in the pre-season on our starts in the first half and second half.
Match: Panthers vs Eels
Round 1 -
Venue: Panthers Stadium
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"We put ourselves in a good position in the first half but we just lost our way and we have got to be better when things don’t go our way to get back into that grind.
"We have got to grind out wins, that is the biggest thing we worked on during the pre-season. That is what good teams do and we didn’t do that today."
Eels coach Brad Arthur said his team had failed to match the Panthers for intensity in the second half, after leading 14-6 at the interval.
"We started really well and in the second half we started poorly and turned over too much possession," Arthur said. "In these conditions, it just took its toll physically.
"We have worked really hard during the pre-season on our second half starts but we didn’t do that. We planned to turn the ball over to them where we wanted to and we didn’t do that. We gave them good field position all the time in the second half."