One year ago, rugby league star Jarryd Hayne moved to the US and tried to make it in the NFL. Looks like he failed. His team the San Francisco 49-ers is one of the worst in the country but he can’t even get a game. The coaches won’t pick him. They even put him up for sale but there were no buyers.
Is this failure? In terms of football and what Hayne wanted to achieve, of course it is. But it’s too early to judge – he needs another couple of years and some more chances. At the moment though, it’s a fail.
In terms of life and character, it is not a failure. I’ve never been a Hayne fan but you’ve got to admire him for having the balls to leave his comfort zone, move to another country and try to make it in such a different sport. In that sense, Hayne is a total success, regardless of whether he makes it in the NFL.
The real failure is the Australian media. Their hysterical Hayne hype was ludicrous. Hayne made a couple of good plays during some pre-season trial games and the media carried on like he’d won the super-bowl singlehanded. One newspaper said Hayne was the greatest ever Australian sports story, better than Don Bradman.
This can now be seen exactly as many people saw it at the time – as a load of horseshit that should never have got past the editor’s desk. Sounds like Hayne didn’t appreciate it much either, from one report I heard. The hype overkill did him no favours and now it’s just made him look a bit silly, something he doesn’t deserve.
Then again, Hayne hype is nothing new. It’s been going on for years in rugby league. It reached its peak in 2009 when he strung together a few great games for his club, Parramatta. The media thought he was Jesus Christ and Superman rolled into one.
In a game against St George, for example, Hayne scored a solo try at the end of the game where he beat five tired defenders. All well and good, but just a few days later, Hayne’s rival Billy Slater scored four tries against Manly, including one against fresh defenders five minutes in. Not much media hysteria then. Strange.
I’ve always thought Slater a much better player than Hayne. Whereas Hayne conjured up the occasional blinder, Slater had a great game nearly every week. He was consistently brilliant. The only possible defence for Hayne was that he played in weaker teams (Parramatta, NSW) than Slater’s (Melbourne, Queensland).
There’s no doubt Hayne was a very good player but he was no Don Bradman. When he left rugby league he said he’d ‘achieved everything in the game.’ Really? How about making the top eight? Apart from that 2009 series, Hayne’s club Parramatta hardly ever made the top eight final series during his career. You can add to that seven or eight losing state of origin series for NSW against Queensland.
I’m not trying to rubbish Hayne. He was a very good player and had the balls to try and make it in the NFL. Good on him. It is the hysterical hype of the media that I object to. Jarryd Hayne is cool and a great athlete, but he’s not Superman. He’s not Jesus Christ or Don Bradman. And he’s certainly not Billy Slater.