Dyldam Parramatta Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne has credited the Eels forward pack with helping to set up the Round One victory over the New Zealand Warriors.
The Eels pack didn't shy away from the notoriously physical Warriors forwards, and co-captain Hayne says their performance was obvious from the scoreboard. Wingers Semi Radradra and Vai Toutai bagged a hat trick each in the 36-16 victory.
“[The game] was obviously very aggressive,” Hayne said.
“I thought our defence was the standout, and the forwards really set the tone.”
When [the Warriors] were sort of making a comeback, our forwards really stood up and our backs complemented that with the way we finished off the tries.”
“And Manu Ma’u was great for us tonight: his aggression in defence and the way he ran the ball and targeted their halves got a lot of momentum for us.”
Returning NRL centre Will Hopoate described the Round One encounter as a fitting welcome back to rugby league after two years out of the game completing a Mormon mission.
“It’s always a physical game going against the Warriors,” Hopoate said.
“I got a few knocks early and tossed around a little bit, so it was a good welcome back to the elite game.”
“We’re just happy to come away with the result.”