2010 was a rollercoaster season for Hayne, with the Eels fullback suffering from a chronic groin injury, osteitis pubis – but in preparation for 2012, the ‘Hayne Train’, has been engaged in full sprinting with no pain for 6 weeks.
He played out of position in the 2011 Origin series, but despite that, Hayne has no ill-feelings towards NSW coach Ricky Stuart – but rather, wants to knuckle down and challenge Josh Dugan for the NSW fullback spot.
“Last year, I struggled. I had osteitis pubis for most of the year, but I was disappointed with how I went”, Hayne said.
“With the players we have bought to the club, it’s a given that we are going to play better. It has been awesome – I love playing with Chris. Everyone had the big expectation of how he was going to fit in, but we play similar roles. We play off-the-cuff”.
“It will probably give me more freedom to play a natural fullback game where I’m not touching the ball as much every set, but I’m doing more support play and pushing up in the line”.
“Any of those half-chance opportunities, I’ll be there. That is something I have lacked over the last few yeaers”.
Sometimes, the confidence that Hayne exudes can be construed as being arrogance, but he knows that some people will love him, and that others will not be fans of his.
“Each to their own; people are going to love me and people are going to hate me, ” Hayne said.
“If I was to listen to everyone else, then I would not have a good head space, but I like to think I have a pretty strong head space, and I listen to the people that I need to listen to.”
“That’s who I am – I stand firm in what I believe in”.
Hayne knows that poor games will not cut it, if he wants to make the Origin team – rather, he has to be playing at his best, nearly all the time.
“I guess now, with the way NSW selection went last year, I pretty much have to be at my best come selection time”, Hayne said.
“That is good. It is a huge amount of pressure, which is something that any sports person wants and desires to have.”
“When something is on the line, that is when you can go to the next level, or you can go under.