SYDNEY - Joel Reddy, one of Jarryd Hayne's teammates in Parramatta's memorable charge to the 2009 NRL grand final, believes the Eels superstar is now a more rounded player and better leader.
Hayne was a prominent figure in the NSW Blues recent drought-breaking State of Origin series win, producing several big plays.
After being rested from Parramatta's last game, a 48-0 mauling by NZ Warriors, Hayne returns to club duty in tomorrow's home clash with Souths.
Rabbitohs centre Reddy, who played for Parramatta between 2005 and 2011, and for Wests Tigers in 2012-13 before joining Souths, stressed Hayne was a more complete player than the one who lit up Parramatta's exhilarating 2009 finals series campaign.
"I think he's a more rounded player now, and I think he's more of a leader now," Reddy said.
"Defensively he seems to be popping up at the right times.
"Obviously his attack has always been strong, but I think he's matured as a leader as well."
Reddy said those qualities had been on show with Parramatta this year and for a while with NSW.
"Back in 2009 he made himself look good, and now he's making himself look good and he's making others look good."