HAYNE EXCLUSIVE: Forget trials, Eels ready to roll

Introducing the newest member of the NRL.com team... Eels sensation Jarryd Hayne!

Jarryd will be touching base with fans right here with regular columns, video appearances and live chats throughout the season.

Here's his exclusive first column - written during the Eels’ rest day leading into Friday night's season opener against the Dragons.

Enjoy!



It's hard to believe that there are only a few days left before the start of the new season, but I must admit that I’m itching to get out there and play footy again.

It’s been a hectic few months since our run to last year’s grand final, with a Kangaroo tour, contract negotiations and only a small break before I had to come back for pre-season training.

But this is what it’s all about when you play rugby league.

I’m not worried about the fact that Parramatta lost all three trial matches, or that I played quite poorly myself.

I had a sternum injury I picked up in the All Stars game that was quite annoying and put a real dint in my pre-season. But I played a lot of games last year and I think that will hold me in good stead.

I’m also aware that I’ve got another long year ahead and I don’t expect to come out of the blocks firing.

I’m probably not quite up to match fitness yet, but it always takes me a while to get up to the game speed. It’s a slow process and I’m more worried about being consistent than anything else.

From a team perspective, coach Daniel Anderson has only lifted the intensity over the past two weeks, which is why the trial results don’t matter to me.

The whole pre-season has been about getting ready for this week’s Round 1 game against the Dragons. It was never about the trials.

So we’re raring to go and hopefully we can start much better than we did last season.

But we all know the key is not to get too far ahead of ourselves. We know that there is a lot of expectation that we’ll do well again this year but we were in a similar situation at the start of 2008.

We had a great 2007 season where we were unlucky not to reach the grand final and came back to training extremely confident – then we crumbled under the pressure.

It’s important we realise that last year has been and gone. All we can worry about now is 2010.

On a personal note, I’m not expecting to change too much this year although I’ll have to wait and see what happens.

At this stage I’m going to go out there and see how things develop – how my game develops.

To be honest, I’m still getting used to everything that happened last year. I’ve attracted a lot of attention during the off-season and it’s all a bit daunting at times.

It definitely takes its toll on me sometimes, but at the end of the day I just need to worry about football. The whole reason I’m where I am is because of rugby league, so I need to make sure that my head is screwed on every week.

If anything is distracting me or making me uncomfortable I’ll just have to either stop doing it, or find a way around it.

Obviously, I get approached by fans a lot these days – to speak to me or have a photo taken – and that can be both good and bad. Some days I just want to be normal, but I think the fans are important – and my boyhood dream was to be famous, so I don’t mind too much. It’s actually pretty cool!

I’m sure things will be different on the field this year, too.

I expect other teams to come out and try to target me, or to do things to reduce my impact, but that’s no different from other players and I can’t worry about that.

I just have to go out there against the Dragons on Friday night, and play my natural game.