Hayne at five-eighth? I don’t think so!
Jarryd Hayne attacks during the round 18 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville
While Jarryd Hayne is undoubtedly one of the next big greats in the game of football, the discussion around his merit for the position of five-eighth in the NSW State of Origin team astounds me.
Although he is indeed a great player there are other players in the game who deserve the position, who wear the number six jersey every time they step out on the field.
It is true that Hayne has worn the number six himself previously, but this was only for six weeks in 2009, and this doesn’t show his capabilities as matching any of the others in consideration.
The fact that Parramatta’s start to the 2009 season wasn’t the best, this doesn’t help his position in trying to prove that he can play the position successfully.
Hayne has consistently worn the number one jersey of a fullback for the past three seasons (excluding the few matches in which he was tried as five-eighth) and it surprises me that he is not contending the fullback position.
For the past six years Queensland have dominated State of Origin, and for any chance of bringing New South Wales back into a position where they can compete, the selectors need to understand who is in the best condition and form to help them over the line.
In saying that, the two players who have always been in contention for the five-eighth position, Todd Carney, and last years’ jersey holder Jamie Soward, should both maintain a forward position in the selection process.
Todd Carney, who most say is on his final chance in the NRL, is playing one of the best seasons I have seen. His game keeps getting better, and I believe his selection should be without question. In the first seven rounds of the season Carney has averaged 7.5 runs a game, at approximately 59 metres (8 metres per run).
Jamie Soward on the other hand, who by all means is a player who should be in contemplation, hasn’t had the same start to the season as Carney, averaging only 4 runs a game with an average metre gain of 3.4 metres.
With Carney running the ball superbly and his kicking at a high standard at 78 percent (18/23), I’m not quite sure why the selectors would bother looking anywhere else.
The Country v City game saw Carney and Hayne line-up against each other, and although Hayne had more metres gained with 66m, and Carney with just 22m, Carney’s game was still more impressive to watch, and his defence was at a higher standard, missing just one tackle compared to Hayne’s five missed tackles.
With Hayne’s contention of five-eighth, it leaves the position of fullback for New South Wales open. This is puzzling as Hayne has been playing at a higher standard in the fullback position compared to that of the others in question.
Brett Stewart, and Brett Morris are both being considered for the position of fullback, and while both can play fullback brilliantly, neither have had the start to the season that Hayne has had in the number one jersey.
In just four games Hayne has averaged 15.25 runs, at 163.5 metres a game, compared to that of Stewart who has averaged just 9.6 runs at 85.6 metres.
Hayne stands above the other because of his kicking (11 kicks for 383 metres gained). Neither Stewart nor Morris are kickers, and this leaves a hole in their attacking games, again placing Hayne ahead of the pack for the full back position.
This is where I get confused. If Hayne has had such a start to the season in the number one, why move him out of it? Also as Carney has had such a start to his season in the number six, why take him out of it?
The selectors need to start re-thinking their positions of the teams’ selections, because if the wrong selections are made, and players are in positions that won’t benefit the team, Queensland will be on top for the seventh year in a row.
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