Jarryd Hayne slips through the Newcastle defence on Friday night at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP
Jarryd Hayne slips through the Newcastle defence on Friday night at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP

Hayne revels in playing pain-free for first time this season

AFTER hinting that he's ready to reclaim his superstar status, Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne has revealed he is playing pain-free for the first time this NRL season.

Hayne was close to his former self as he turned in a blockbusting performance in an otherwise forgettable night for the blue and golds in Newcastle on Friday night.

The former Australia and NSW outside back was far and away his side's best player in their 18-16 loss to the Knights and at times threatened to single-handedly win the game.

He set up two of the Eels' three tries with individual brilliance and powerful running that were reminiscent of the way he destroyed the opposition before his NFL sojourn.

He clocked up 161m, 11 tackles busts and three line breaks to go along with his two try assists.

Up until Friday night's game, the off-contract star has been well below his lofty standards in 2018.

He has been restricted to just eight games this year because of a niggling hip injury - a problem that came to a head when he bizarrely went down while kicking off against Cronulla in round three.

After getting back to his best against Newcastle, Hayne said he was feeling fit and for the first time this year.

"It's the first time I've actually felt good," Hayne told AAP

"Even in the warm-up when I always get my hips loosened up, they've been a huge issue this year, it's the first time they're finally freed up.

"Normally they're stuck and a bit stiff. Our trainer said, 'They're good tonight'.

"It showed out on the field."

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur admitted his side had failed to properly utilise Hayne in their loss to the Knights and should have got the ball in their superstar centre's hands more often.

In the back end of the game, and Parramatta on the attack on several occasions, the Eels curiously failed to shift the ball to Hayne's left side, where he had dominated all night.

Hayne said he came into the year with hip issues and he'd been plagued by them ever since.

"I must have come into the season with it and by round three it felt like it was just tight," he said.

"Usually you stretch it and that and you don't even realise.

"It wasn't until I kicked off and tore it, I had to see someone about it and my chiro had to adjust the hip capsule - that really freed it up.

"He just said it's going to take a couple of weeks to get it right.

"I finally found a bit of freedom in my hips."

- AAP


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