The Courier-Mail

49er’s coach says ‘I’ve seen what I need to see’ DREAM ALIVE


JAR­RYD Hayne has been given a re­sound­ing endorsemen­t five days out from his NFL dream, with head coach Jim Tom­sula declar­ing he has proven his abil­i­ties on the field.

De­spite his at­tempts to quell Hayne­ma­nia, San Fran­cisco 49ers coach Tom­sula sparked fresh hope for Hayne fans yesterday when asked what his rookie punt re­turner needed to do to seal a deal in the fi­nal pre-sea­son trial against San Diego on Fri­day.

“I’m con­fi­dent in Jar­ryd’s abil­ity to field the ball,’’ Tom­sula said. “I’ve watched a ton of tape on him field­ing a rugby ball.

“I’ve seen him field here at prac­tice. I’ve seen him field in games. So I feel very good about his abil­i­ties to field, to per­form with a ball in his hands on spe­cial teams ... I’ve seen what I need to see.”

De­spite av­er­ag­ing more than 21 yards on punt re­turns in the open­ing two tri­als against Hous­ton and Dal­las, Hayne was given only one chance on Sun­day against Den­ver – car­ry­ing strongly for a gain of 12 yards.

Tom­sula stressed the Aus­tralian’s lim­ited game time was more about his coach­ing staff get­ting a bet­ter look at Reg­gie Bush, Bruce Elling­ton and DeAn­drew White as the trio played their re­turn games. Bush re­turned just once, for a gain of four yards, while also let­ting another kick bounce.

So­cial media lit up dur­ing the game, with Nin­ers fans ar­gu­ing the mer­its of Hayne ver­sus the Su­per Bowl win­ner. While Bush was tipped to get first crack as the punt re­turner – the role Elling­ton held last year – it now seems both men could be used else­where with the job go­ing to Hayne.

Se­nior 49ers beat writ­ers Cam In­man, Matt Maiocco and Chris Bin­der­man have all pre­dicted Hayne will make ros­ter as the No.1 punt re­turner.

“I think the job is Jar­ryd’s, I re­ally do,’’ In­man said. “I’m still try­ing to with­hold a lit­tle, think­ing maybe we’re all too em­bed­ded in this thing.

“All think­ing Jar­ryd is do­ing great but not see­ing those lit­tle things the football staff do. And they might think he’s too in­ex­pe­ri­enced to take a risk on.

“But it re­ally seems ob­vi­ous to so many of us ... Jar­ryd just looks re­ally, re­ally com­fort­able.”

Tom­sula must make a host of ros­ter cuts by tonight (Qld time), thin­ning his squad from 90 to 75.

Hayne is al­most cer­tainly as­sured of get­ting through.

And with most first-string play­ers ex­pected to sit out of the fi­nal trial against the Charg­ers, the for­mer NRL star will see more min­utes than in any of his three pre­vi­ous games. The fi­nal 53-man ros­ter will be named on Sun­day.

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