Hayne Plane spreads his wings among some of the Blues’ greats

Townsville Bulletin - - THE DECIDER ORIGIN III -

THE Hayne Plane has flown in along­side two of NSW’s great­est.

Blues cen­tre Jar­ryd Hayne will equal the num­ber of NSW ap­pear­ances set by Im­mor­tal An­drew Johns and the great Lau­rie Da­ley in the se­ries de­cider tonight.

Johns and Da­ley played 23 matches in sky blue to be equal- fourth on the all- time list be­hind Brad Fit­tler ( 31), An­drew Et­ting­shausen ( 27) and Paul Gallen ( 24).

Hayne, who made his Blues de­but in 2007, is on the next rung with for­mer Steel­ers winger Rod Wishart at 22, ahead of Danny Buderus and Tim Brasher, who each played 21 Ori­gins.

Hayne’s ef­fort is es­pe­cially sig­nif­i­cant given he missed the 2015 and 2016 Ori­gin se­ries while he was on his NFL ad­ven­ture with the San Fran­cisco 49ers.

“Jar­ryd came on the scene pretty young – 2007,” NSW coach Da­ley said. “It’s a great achieve­ment and some­thing I am sure he will be proud of.

“He has been a won­der­ful player for NSW.”

Should he re­main fit and fo­cused, the 29- year- old could break Fit­tler’s record.

“That would be up to Jar­ryd, it would de­pend on form,” Da­ley said.

“That’s three years away. A lot of things can hap­pen be­tween now and then.

“I don’t think he’s worried too much about that. It’s more about this game, to play well and give NSW a chance of win­ning.”

Hayne was heav­ily crit­i­cised af­ter game two but has vowed to hit back in the de­cider.

“He made a few er­rors but he is a proud player,” Da­ley said. “I know he will bounce back to his best.

“He left the game and has taken a while to re­cap­ture his best but his last cou­ple of weeks in club land have been re­ally good.

“We’re ex­pect­ing him to play re­ally strongly for us.”

Hayne was part of the 2014 se­ries win over Queens­land and could se­cure his sec­ond Ori­gin shield with a win at Sun­corp Sta­dium.

Blues cap­tain Boyd Cord­ner could be get­ting his hands on the shield tonight but when asked if he’d en­vi­sioned him­self on the vic­tory dais, he said: “You don’t want to think about it, but it’s hard not to.

“There’s a lot of work be­tween now and 10.30 on Wed­nes­day night.”

SEA­SONED CAM­PAIGNER: Jar­ryd Hayne will play his 23rd Ori­gin match tonight.

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