PARRAMATTA skipper Nathan Hindmarsh says it would be a shame if Jarryd Hayne was banned from playing in Origin II for a headbutt on Billy Slater that he described as a "love tap".
Hayne was reported during the Eels' 24-10 win over Melbourne at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night, putting his place in the NSW line-up in jeopardy.
But Hindmarsh told BigPond Sports Weekend that the altercation between the two stars was part and parcel of the game.
"It's not a good one, but Haynesy pretty much explained it after the game. He's given [Slater] a little tap, but it's only a little one. It was a little bit of a love tap," he said.
"That type of stuff happens; you see a fair bit of that and Billy got his own back at the other end of the field a couple of plays later. I think they're all square and that's it. That's all that needs to be said.
"If you rule one of those two out of Origin ... the first Origin game was a letdown and if one of them is missing, it's going to be even worse."
South Sydney forward Sam Burgess agreed with Hindmarsh's assessment, saying he'd prefer to see both Slater and Hayne free to play in Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on June 16.
"Me personally, I probably wouldn't rule them out. They're two of the most exciting players in the league," he said.
"If they go up there without Hayne and Slater, it's going to be a different game altogether.
"There wasn't any damage done there, it's a little bit of argy-bargy between probably the two leading fullbacks in the league, who are both fighting for the Australian jumper. I can see why there's plenty of tension between them."
However, Hindmarsh conceded that it was unlikely that Hayne would escape censure for his headbutt on Slater, given the furore over Johnathan Thurston's recent escape from a charge of verbally abusing the referee.
"I don't think so, especially after what happened with Johnathan Thurston and how he got let off with all the swearing and what-not," he said.
"I think he was very lucky to get off... you can't say that type of stuff to the referee. They've sent a clear message now that the next person who does that will get in strife."
Meanwhile, Hindmarsh said the Eels players didn't buy into the hype that surrounded Friday night's grand final rematch against the Storm.
Instead, he said his teammates were focused solely on regaining some form after a disappointing fortnight on the field.
"We didn't talk about anything [other than] how important it was to get the two points. It had nothing to do with last year's grand final or what happened at the Storm," he said.
"For us, coming off two pretty bad losses against two teams, we needed the two points. We just played them as if they were playing for points."