Parramatta coach Brad Arthur admits his side failed to properly utilise Jarryd Hayne in their 18-16 NRL loss to Newcastle and should have got the ball in their superstar centre’s hands more often.
Hayne looked shades of his old self as he turned in a blockbusting performance in an otherwise forgettable night for the blue and golds at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday.
The former Australian and NSW outside back was far and away his side’s best player and at times threatened to single-handedly win the game, as he has done so often for the Eels over his career.
He set up two of the Eels’ three tries with some individual brilliance and powerful running that were reminiscent of the way he destroyed opposition before his NFL sojourn.
He clocked up 161 metres, 11 tackles busts and three linebreaks to go along with his two try assists.
In the back end of the game, and with his side on the attack on several occasions, the Eels’ curiously failed to shift the ball to Hayne’s left side where he had dominated all night.
And Arthur admits they should have gone to Hayne more often.
“He was really good, the plan was we thought we could get some opportunity down our left,” Arthur said.
“I would have liked to have seen us go down there at the back end of the game.
“When we had some opportunities down there, we probably needed to get the ball to him a touch more there.”
The Eels’ fell in a heap under a mountain of fundamental errors as they completed just 23 of 38 sets.
After racing to a 10-0 lead after 10 minutes, they competition’s cellar dwellers looked like a reinvigorated outfit however reverted to bad habits as they suffered their eighth loss in their last nine starts.
“We put ourselves under enormous pressure after a really good start,” Arthur said.
“I think eight of the last nine sets of the first half, we didn’t get to a kick. That’s not good enough.
“Defence, energy, enthusiasm was all there, it was great. The will to win was there. But a completion rate of 50 per cent at halftime gave them plenty of energy to come back out.
“The first 20 minutes (of the second half) we didn’t get any field position. That 15 or 25 minutes at the end of the first half hurt us.”