With the return of Jarryd Hayne and Willie Tonga for the Eels, this game was shaping up to be a cracker, and it delivered, with the Eels pushing the more fancied Warriors all the way to the end – with only a 78th minute Bill Tupou try sealing the win for the Warriors.
The Eels had a scare amongst the camp and the fans, when Eels fullback Hayne went down in some pain, clutching at his knee, though in a sigh of relief – Hayne confirmed via Twitter that it was just scar tissue damage, and he is planning to be back on the field as soon as possible.
12,000 fans were treated to an entertaining game, with the Warriors being tested throughout the game by the Eels, off the back of some crafty play from halfback Chris Sandow, who bagged a double.
I just took off full throttle and there was a gap there and I guess the knee was just not ready for it yet,” Hayne said.
“I have spoken to the physio and she said it’s going to take a while for the knee to get used to running like that again.
“It’s not a serious injury. The scar tissue that has popped has freed it up a bit and it has gone from being stiff to being loose.
“It is more annoying than anything and I just want to get it right and get out there with the boys.”
Eels coach Stephen Kearney was fearing the worst when Hayne went down, as his thoughts immediately raced to an ACL injury.
“I was thinking it was an ACL injury first up,” Kearney said.
“We’re not quite sure of a timeframe but the doctors seem quite happy about it.
“He’s walking around on it, and at halftime and he was bending his knee, so that was a positive sign for him.”
Despite the loss, Kearney was pleased with the effort and attitude of his players.
“I didn’t think the scoreline reflected the effort,” Kearney said. “There were some positive signs.”
Despite their poor start to both halves, Warriors coach Brian McClennan was pleased with the way his side bounced back.
“We’re not starting halves very well but I thought our kicking game was a lot better and there was a stage there where we were under the pump and Jimmy Maloney busted it out and bought us time,” he said.
NRL News Dally M Points
James Maloney – 3
Chris Sandow – 2
Kevin Locke – 1