Justin Horo has pin-pointed Origin-winning fullback Jarryd Hayne as the man the Sea Eagles will need to stop on Friday night if his side are to maintain their ascendency at the top of the NRL ladder.
“In 2009 he started off pretty well and his last ten weeks of the season I don’t think anyone will be able to replicate that, even himself,” Horo said.
“I think he’s been more consistent over the whole year this year and that showed throughout the Origin series.
“I remember when I played with him, the Origin series took a lot out of him. He looks like he’s kicked another gear after Origin.
“I think getting the win has helped him and that’s helped him with his Parramatta form.”
Horo knows Parramatta coach Brad Arthur better than most, having been coached by him at both the Eels and Sea Eagles. He recognises the danger that a desperate side led by Arthur poses.
“They’ll be really hungry. They need this win and I’m sure BA (Brad Arthur) will have them up for it,” he said.
Horo recently returned from a three-match suspension for his tackle on Tigers fullback Mitchell Moses in round 18, but the second rower conceded it was a blessing in disguise.
“It’s not ideal to be missing games this time of year, but the body feels really good at the moment, so hopefully that pays off come finals time,’ Horo said.
Horo believes his side are in a great position at the moment and the next three weeks leading into the finals will be huge in determining their fate.
“The next three weeks are going to be pretty important for us,” he said,
“Everyone thought our game on the weekend was a bit patchy, but I thought it was really good.
“They came out and really stuck it too us, it was hot conditions, it was a really tough game and we were able to come away with it again. I thought that was a good result for us.”