Parramatta Eels players Jarryd Hayne and Joseph Paulo have opened up to the Sun about new coach Ricky Stuart and their goals for the 2013 season.
A knee injury to Hayne brought a premature end to his 2012 campaign.
And the emergence of fullback and Wests Tigers’ discard Jake Mullany in his place has posed a welcome headache for Stuart.
The former NSW Origin coach previously stated he though Hayne could do a Darren Lockyer and make a successful shift from number one to six.
But the injured Eel said he was happy to play where he was needed.
‘‘I think [Mullaney] would be second choice fullback and you’ve got Luke Kelly and Ben Roberts at five-eighth too,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s pre-season and they’re all fighting for positions.
‘‘I’ll just do my bit, get my body right and get everything ticking in the right areas of my game and the rest should look after itself.
‘‘He had a great year in ‘09 Jakey — he was the man of the moment and doing stuff like Ben Barba was.
‘‘He made a good [first grade] debut and if he hits his potential he will be up there with the best.’’
Hayne has played under Stuart in the last few Origin series.
He said the veteran coach was fitting in well.
‘‘It’s the first couple of weeks but he’s been really good for us,’’ Hayne said.
‘‘He is just getting to know the boys, focusing on our defense which is a priority and a bit of this and a bit of that.’’
Young back rower Joseph Paulo praised the influence of Stuart on the 2012 wooden-spooners.
‘‘We started training three weeks ago and the buzz around the joint is good and everyone is so excited,’’ he said.
‘‘The three weeks has gone fast and it feels like we are learning the whole time.’’
Paulo was a stand-out in the Eels pack, particularly towards the end of the year.
His ball playing skills were reminiscent of former Eel Feleti Mateo.
‘‘I always try to be creative when I play,’’ Paulo said.
‘‘I played five eighth until I was 18 and then they said I was too big so I had to move to the back row.
‘‘That was a bit of a change for me but it’s just one of things where you have to adjust.
‘‘It’s good to be in the middle of things and getting the forwards going.
‘‘It’s the tackling that tires me out.’’