Hayne backs Kearney to turn Eels around
PARRAMATTA star Jarryd Hayne says new coach Stephen Kearney's pedigree will give him every chance of success at the Eels.
Former Melbourne Storm assistant Kearney has replaced former mentor Daniel Anderson, who was sacked with a year remaining on his contract, as the club reacted savagely to a season in which it was widely regarded to have underperformed.
Kearney, a veteran of 264 first-grade games, has spent the past five seasons under Craig Bellamy at the Storm as well as coaching New Zealand to a shock win in the 2008 World Cup.
Hayne told BigPond Sports Weekend he was confident that his new coach had the ability to bring the best out of the Eels' squad in 2011.
"Sometimes you need a kick up the butt to get going and there's other times where you can get over-coached, but Steve's been under Craig Bellamy, who was under Wayne Bennett. He's had a good upbringing to be where he is," Hayne said.
"When we spoke, he was very emotional about what he wanted to do and what he wanted to achieve with the club. I think he know there's obviously a lot of pressure on himself and he's really decided to take the next step in becoming an NRL coach."
The Eels face a tough start to their 2011 campaign with a trip to New Zealand to face the Warriors, where Hayne's former teammates Krisnan Inu and Feleti Mateo lie in wait.
"I wonder if the NRL had anything to do with that," Hayne said with a laugh, adding it would be an emotional encounter.
"It will be tough playing against Inu because I've never played against him before. He's always either been in the team above me or in the same team, so that's going to be pretty interesting.
"With Fil (Mateo), I've known him for five or six years now so we've got a good friendship. It's sad to see them go but that's our job; we know that and we've just got to be professional about it."
Despite the Eels' failure to make the finals, Hayne said he was reasonably happy with his own season amid incredible external pressure.
However, he said he would be happy to adjust his game if it was for the greater good of the team.
"Any kid that's growing up, you want to be the No.1 man. That's what it was like this year and I embraced it, I enjoyed it. As a team, we just didn't live up to expectations," he said.
"Maybe it's my game I need to fix up to get the team going better, I'm not sure, but we'll sit back after the Four Nations and do a bit of a review on it."