2010 was a year to forget for the Eels despite some flashes of brilliance from star fullback Jarryd Hayne. In 2011 though, the Eels are determined to show the rest of the NRL and their fans, that they have more players able to make an impact just as big.
In 2010, we did see some flashes of brilliance from Hayne, but he had the support from his team-mates who had their cameos at different times during the season, but overall, it just was not the same.
“I think we were a bit guilty at times of doing that – if we got ourselves into a situation where we thought we couldn’t get out of it we waited for Haynesy to do something,” new skipper Nathan Hindmarsh admits.
“(We were) building stuff around waiting for Haynesy to do his thing – watching the ball go over our heads thinking ‘I hope he can return it 100 metres’.
“I think that sometimes happens when you’re the best player in the team – I think every team has that – look at the Tigers with Benji Marshall.
“(But) it won’t be the case this year, definitely.”
The plan of attack for the Eels to reverse their poor 2010 form? A new, and structured game-plan under new coach, and current NZ coach, Stephen Kearney.
Hayne will still be allowed to run free, and produce the magic he is capable of, but his team-mates know that they too have to step up their games and support him.
“I guess last year just proves that in rugby league one bloke can’t carry a team,” backrower Ben Smith said.
“A lot of expectation was put on Haynesy in terms of him creating opportunities for us and it’s not fair on him, you can’t do that week-in, week out.
“The stuff that he was doing in `09, you won’t see that again for a very long time, just the way the competition is and how tough it is.
“I think we had an expectation on him to pull a rabbit out of the hat when we needed it and a lot ofteams had their eye on him a lot more last year.”