Hayne: I can't wait to see the Eels in action
Making his return to pre-season training with the Dyldam Parramatta Eels this week, fullback Jarryd Hayne says he's already looking forward to seeing his Blue and Gold teammates make an impact at the inaugural Auckland Nines.
"It’s been good, seeing all the boys and getting back into it," Hayne said.
"There’s definitely a younger team this year, and there’s always a lot of enthusiasm so everyone’s just raring to go and looking forward to the season and the next couple of weeks of pre-season."
Even though the final make-up of the Parramatta squad for the tournament hasn't been confirmed, Hayne says he's already expecting a few of the Eels playmakers to draw attention in Auckland.
"I’m not sure if I’ll be playing [in Auckland] yet, I’ve just got to see how the body’s going," Hayne said.
"But the boys are definitely excited about it and there's a few that are eager to get over there and run amok."
"Chrissy Sandow and Corey Norman will probably be the two standouts: it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be up-tempo and I think it’s going to be really entertaining."
"There's also a lot of players that fans probably don’t know about that are going to spring up and make their name known."
And in the lead up to the 2014 season, Hayne says the team's focus isn't on the Premiership ladder just yet, but more on building the right combinations for the start of the NRL season.
"For us it's all about gelling right," Hayne said.
"We’ve got a new half, we’ve got some new players, so it's about getting things to the point where we can play together with confidence."
"That’s my main focus, and that’s the boys’ main focus as well."
The first outing for some of those new players will be in Alice Springs on February 8, when the Eels take on the Wests Tigers in their first trial match of the pre-season, and the first match the Blue and Gold will play as part of a four year partnership with the Northern Territory Government.
And Hayne says the side is looking forward to heading to unfamiliar territory to play its first 80 minutes of the pre-season.
"The Northern Territory is obviously not well known for rugby league so we’re going up there twice this year and I think it’s going to be great for the game and the club and for the NT," Hayne said.
"We were talking about it yesterday, and I think the one thing we all know it’s going to be hot!
The boys that play in the first trial they’ll be in for it."
"It's a great place, just the sights up there, and I’m looking forward to it."