Fittler says Hayne less surprising at six
By Adrian Warren
SYDNEY, April 16 AAP – City rugby league coach Brad Fittler believes Jarryd Hayne will lose some of his surprise factor playing at five-eighth, while the Eels star regards Todd Carney as favourite for that position in the NSW team.
Versatile Hayne has been named at five-eighth for City, with Carney occupying the No.6 shirt for Country in Sunday’s match at Mudgee.
Both played well for their respective clubs in the Sharks win over Parramatta last Sunday, when Hayne was fullback for the Eels.
“I think Toddy is in great form and he’s probably the form six going around,” Hayne told reporters when asked if Carney had the edge for the Origin spot.
Fittler wasn’t convinced Hayne would necessarily be more dangerous at five-eighth because he would touch the ball more.
“Maybe not. At fullback it allows him to come in and out of the game when he wants,” Fittler told reporters.
“I think he’s going to lose a bit of that surprise factor, there’s no doubt.”
Although Hayne impressed against the Sharks, he was unable to separate his form from that of his struggling club when asked to assess his own endeavours this season.
“I guess it’s assessed on the team’s performance and we’re 1-6 so … disappointing.” Hayne said.
He dismissed speculation about his fitness: “There’s been a bit of talk about my knee but it’s coming along good.
“When anyone comes back from injury, they are never 100 per cent, so it’s a work in progress and I feel every week I’m getting better and better.
“If anything it (playing at five-eighth) will probably be better for me, I probably won’t do as much running as I do at fullback, so it might take the load off my knee a little bit.”
Hayne suggested he would probably end up playing regularly in the No.6 six jersey at some stage.
“I think I’ve still got a couple of years left at fullback but I guess probably personally it (five-eighth) is where I’ll end up, having my hands on the ball a bit more and being a bit more involved from first receiver.”
City captain and hooker Robbie Farah was excited about the potential of the playmaking combination of Hayne, halfback Mitchell Pearce and himself.
“All three of us are attacking players so hopefully we’ve got plenty of points in us,” Farah said.
The skipper was also happy to be leading the perceived underdogs.
“I think Country has got a really good side, lots of experience right throughout,” Farah said.
“We’ve got a lot of debutants here, as usual, but I can assure you we’ll go out there and put plenty of pride into the jersey.”
Farah was confident he would recover from a bout of concussion he suffered on Sunday.
16 Apr 10:10 PM