Hayne impresses with leading hand
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur and co-captain Tim Mannah have heaped praise on not just the match-winning plays but also the unseen 'one-per-center' efforts of in-form fullback Jarryd Hayne following the side's hard-earned 14-12 win over the Roosters on Saturday night.
Hayne was instrumental in the win although his stats – 104 metres, three tackle breaks, one try assist, one line-break assist and a try save – tell barely half the story.
- WATCH: Full match highlights
- WATCH: Tupou's stunning solo try
- WATCH: Eels press conference
- WATCH: Roosters press conference
- Full match stats
- Relive our live commentary
The try assist was typical Hayne – a bullet cut-out pass to his right, skipping centre Will Hopoate to put winger Ken Sio over untouched for the opening try of the match.
He'd have earned another try assist in the second half after fielding a Sandow chip on the full to create two-on-one with Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but a supporting Peni Terepo couldn't hold on to the Hayne pass.
And midway through the first half with his side trailing 6-4, Hayne managed to strip the ball away from a try-bound Sonny Bill Williams in what would turn out to be a critical play.
But arguably his greatest play of the evening was another try-saving effort on the same player in the 78th minute.
With the Eels desperately clinging to a slender 14-12 advantage as the clock wound down, the giant Kiwi backrower charged onto a Mitchell Pearce short ball, burst through the line and looked to have stolen the match for the Roosters. But Hayne threw himself at Williams and managed to wrap an arm around him and somehow keep the ball from hitting the turf of the in-goal.
"The six games we've played he's been making little efforts like that in those whole six games," Arthur said after the game.
"Last week [against Brisbane] he came up with a couple of good chases, he got out of the in-goal (another freakish effort to defuse a certain 40/20 then somehow get back into the field of play from close to the dead ball line).
"He's been coming up with some special big plays which probably a lot of people don't notice because he's not throwing a 20-metre cut-out pass or chipping for himself. He's coming up with some real little one-per-center plays and it means a lot to him."
Mannah said the best thing about having Hayne in the team right now is his commitment to doing "the dirty little things" that fans might not notice.
"Those little things that as a teammate you really appreciate the work he's doing. But it's not just him and that's the pleasing thing is we've got 17 guys turning up on game day willing to do their job," said Mannah.
Mannah said he wasn't surprised Hayne had been able to hold up a charging 'SBW'.
"I think Jarryd's done that a few times and you never know what's going to happen when they get through you," said the skipper. "He's saved heaps of tries and he saved our butt again today."
For his part, Hayne said he had no idea how he'd managed to pull off the try saver but was confident as soon as it happened that the ball hadn't been grounded in-goal.
"I was very confident [it was a no-try], and looking at Sonny you could tell he wasn't too confident," Hayne said. "I think he thought he might have got it on the line but I knew my hand was under it.
"I don't know how I did it, how I got in that position, he's a huge human. As soon as the tackle was complete, I was extremely confident I held him up.
"Sonny thought he might have hit the line but the ref was in a good position and if you look at the replay I think they got it right."
Hayne said he felt it was "a given" that as a senior player he now needs to try and lead by example.
"It's just a given I guess, with being a leader and being an older player, to turn up and keep working hard. If I can set the standard along with Timmy [Mannah] and 'Tongs' (Willie Tonga) and the older boys then the younger boys just need to follow."
Hayne also paid credit to the passionate crowd of 15,312 that roared as one when the final siren finally sounded.
"It just goes to show how passionate our supporters are; we came last two years in a row but our membership's on fire," he said. "You walk around Parra', they still love you, they still support you through thick and thin. It's just great and to get a crowd like we did tonight is just a credit to the fans."