NRL prodigal son Jarryd Hayne is now the man most likely to succeed Paul Gallen as NSW skipper, according to another player who is also a leading contender Wade Graham.
Before Gallen’s final game as Blues skipper in State of Origin III, NSW coach Laurie Daley nominated Graham, Boyd Cordner and Aaron Woods as the leading contenders to replace the long-term captain.
Graham could take over the captaincy of Cronulla from Gallen in 2017. But the Blues back-rower, who made his Origin debut in game three, said Hayne, who has played 20 interstate matches, is in pole position to take succeed Gallen for NSW.
“Definitely, I think he probably goes straight to the top of that list with all his achievements in the game,” Graham told AAP.
“He is just a player and a person who raises to the occasion every time.
“He not only wants the big games, he excels in the big games and that is someone you want to be leading you.
“I’m sure he will go right to the top of that list now, give him a couple of months of footy under his belt a pre-season and I’m sure he will be ready to go come Origin.”
However Gallen wasn’t so sure former Parramatta skipper Hayne would be given the leadership role with the Blues in 2017.
“It depends what he is doing at club level. I don’t think he will be captain at club level so they will probably look at someone who has got experience at doing it,” Gallen said.
“He has some experience there, he will come into the mix but it is a long way away.”
Meanwhile, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has indicated that Hayne would be unlikely to add to his 11 Tests for Australia at this year’s end-of-season Four Nations.
“I think we might leave that to next year,” he told Fairfax Media.
“Let’s take the pressure off him and see if he can come back to those lofty heights with the Titans.”