Hayne 80 min­utes from Ori­gin re­turn

NT News - - SPORT -

JAR­RYD Hayne is 80 min­utes away from re­turn­ing to the State of Ori­gin stage he was dom­i­nat­ing when a flir­ta­tion with Amer­i­can foot­ball so rudely in­ter­rupted.

Af­ter a over­com­ing a knee is­sue this week, it seems Hayne only needs to get through tonight’s match against Manly to se­cure NSW se­lec­tion for the 2017 se­ries opener on May 31.

Since re­turn­ing from an an­kle in­jury in Round 8, 29year-old Hayne has im­pressed de­spite a move from full­back to cen­tre — so much so that he will likely fill that role for Lau­rie Da­ley’s Blues af­ter his two-break­ing se­ries ab­sence.

And Da­ley will surely have his fin­gers crossed to­day, keen to re­call the vet­eran of 21 Ori­gin ap­pear­ances since 2007 and hero of the Blues’ drought- 2014 se­ries win.

Hayne has shaped up against Queens­land Ori­gin players Dane Ga­gai (New­cas­tle) and Will Cham­bers (Mel­bourne) in the past two weeks and to­day comes up against Manly’s in-form NSW hope­ful Dy­lan Walker.

Ti­tans coach Neil Henry has no doubt Hayne’s ex­pe­ri­ence and util­ity value mean the move to the cen­tres hasn’t hurt his Ori­gin am­bi­tions.

“He’s held his own play­ing in the cen­tres, he’s cer­tainly adapt­able enough to play in the cen­tres or else­where for NSW,” Henry said.

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