Jarryd Hayne – A New Hope
The 2016 NFL season is a big step for all Australian NFL fans. With the weight of the nation on Jarryd Hayne’s shoulders. 12 months ago, at the peak of his career he made the huge decision to retire from the NRL. He had just tied for the 2014 Dally M Medal as the NRL’s best player also winning the Dally M Medal in 2009.
Hayne made his NRL debut on 19 May 2006, at 18 years of age with the Parramatta Eels against the Penrith Panthers. He quickly made his name by scoring 17 tries in 16 games. His excellent scoring ability quickly earned him the Dally M Rookie of the Year and a spot on the Kangaroos squad.
In 2014 Hayne started the season with his most consistent display of rugby league, leading the Dally M medal rankings after 10 Rounds. He was selected for New South Wales in his favoured fullback position for Game One of the 2014 State of Origin series. He produced a man of the match performance, setting up one try and scoring one to deliver New South Wales a 12-8 win in Brisbane and a 1-0 series lead. During the annual 2014 players poll, where 100 players from the 16 clubs are interviewed, Hayne was voted as ‘best in the game,’ the first NSW player since Andrew Johns won the honour in 2006. In Round 22 of the season, playing against the Canberra Raiders, Hayne scored another 50m solo try to bring up his 100th career try. He became only the third player behind Luke Burt and Brett Kenny to score 100 tries for Parramatta. In Round 23 of the season Hayne topped his 2006 try scoring effort, reaching his 18th for the season against the Bulldogs. Hayne finished the season as the NRL’s leading try-scorer with 20 for the season. On 29 September 2014, on the Dally M Awards night, Hayne and North Queensland Queensland Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston were the joint winners of the 2014 Dally M Player of the Year Award after the most thrilling countdown in the award’s history
It was after this season the Jarryd made the call to retire from the NRL to change codes and countries and try his luck in the NFL. On 3 March 2015, the San Francisco 49ers announced they had signed undrafted free agent Hayne to a three-year contract with a US$100,000 guarantee. Collin Scotts Australia’s other project that was very successful playing two positions in the NFL that was not a Punter as most Australian rules players end up getting this position in the NFL, said Hayne would have a lot to learn, some of the biggest challenges are learning the play book and wearing a helmet as this takes away your peripheral vision something Australians take for granted when playing sports. It’s believed Jarryd will play the position of punt returner, a position that requires immense speed and zero room for error, this is also rumours that he could also play at Running Back. Speaking of rumours there have been many, that Jarryd is struggling and that Jarryd will be a starter. All we know is that Australia should be proud that Jarryd has put everything on the line to pursue this dream of playing in the NFL. He could not be on a more famous team, that has great supporters world-wide and a franchise with an amazing history in the NFL. The window of opportunity at San Francisco has opened further with the departure of running back, Frank Gore. Time will tell as we enter the month of August.
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