If the Sports Guy wasn’t on gardening leave and doing something apart from Deflategate on Twitter, he would be saying the same thing
Jarryd Hayne Pre-NFL
For those of you not from Australia or New Zealand (or the north of England), I’ll give you the pre-NFL run down on Jarryd Hayne in 100 words or less. The on-speed summary for those of you with especially short attention spans (or on-ice summary to bring you back into today’s context) is ‘Jarryd Hayne is a supremely gifted athlete who was not universally liked’. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Revisionist history is a funny thing. I’ve been guilty of it many times myself.
The supremely gifted part can be quantitatively described by a round-up of his achievements from Wikipedia, that bastion of accuracy, as follows:
Parramatta – 176 games, 103 tries
PMs XIII – 3 games, 6 tries
Sydney City – 5 games, 3 tries
NSW – 20 games, 9 tries
Australia – 12 games, 11 tries
Fiji – 4 games, 3 tries
NRL All Stars – 2 games, 1 try
BTW I’ve been thinking a lot about Rugby League terms since Jarryd Hayne went to America. Why do we call it a ‘try’? They’ve done more than try, they’ve actually scored.
If you want a qualitative analysis we have Youtube to fill in the gaps. Needless to say he is big, fast, strong and elusive.
Why wasn’t he universally liked?
Jarryd Hayne certainly wasn’t a polarising figure like Anthony Mundine, Willy Mason or SBW. He didn’t do anything wrong from a criminal perspective or even a reputational perspective, however, in Australia, Rugby League is only a major sport in Queensland and NSW so there’s that. Secondly, Queenslander’s only begrudgingly respect NSW players at the best of times and downright don’t like them at all for the rest. So there’s half your audience gone straight away. Finally, some thought him a bit soft when he first started out. My suspicion is that most of those thoughts came from Queenslanders because of that strong maroon bias. Those voices disappeared as the years went on. Some knocked him because he couldn’t quite get Parramatta across the line for a premiership. Many players are guilty of that. Parramatta wasn’t the gold standard when it came to administration during his time there either. I would say others didn’t like him because ‘tall poppy syndrome’ is alive and well in Australia. At the bottom line Rugby League is a very tribal game and unless you followed Parramatta or NSW Jarryd Hayne wasn’t generally on your list of favourite players.
Jarryd Hayne Post-15 October 2014
This all changed on 15 October 2014 when Hayne announced his intention to trial for the NFL, effective immediately.
Australians roughly fell into 4 groups at the time. Please note that no-one came out and said Hayne would definitely make it (except Colin Scotts). I certainly didn’t. Everyone’s first thought was ‘I can’t believe he just did that, I didn’t see that coming’. It was one of those ‘Melbourne has been rorting the salary cap for 100 years’, ‘everyone has been taking steroids in the NRL and AFL’ or ‘Lady Diana just died in a car accident’ moments. It broke the internet in Australia for 3 solid days.
The 4 prevailing opinions at the time were roughly as follows:
- I hope he makes it.
- He might have a chance, but I doubt it.
- Hayne has rocks in his head. Australian for ‘he doesn’t have a chance’.
- What is the NFL?
I was definitely in the ‘I hope he makes it’ group. I have been a fan of the NFL since I was a boy and had already followed Colin Scotts, every AFL player who had become a punter, Jesse Williams and anyone else remotely associated with Australia and the NFL. Ditto Luc Longley, Shane Heal, Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut in the NBA, Grant Balfour and Graeme Lloyd in MLB. Also I figured any publicity for the NRL that didn’t involve a criminal offence had to be good.
Jarryd Hayne Training Camp Version
Well this is the easiest part to ruminate on. Hayne has made every post a winner since the start of training camp. I’ve been following every story that came out of 49ers camp since it started. I’m realising a few things. Hayne is a sensation at the moment which is exacerbated by the amount of bad news that has come out this off season about the 49ers which is on the back of a pretty disparaging season.
A quick recap for those unaware of the 49ers recent woes. The Jim Harbaugh era was largely successful with the first 3 seasons yielding 3 trips to the NFC title game (effectively the semi-finals of the NFL) and one Super Bowl appearance. Last year the wheels started falling off. Here is a quick summary:
- Harbaugh is gone now. Replaced by Jim Tomsula.
- Offensive lineman Anthony Davis retired. He was 25.
- Linebacker Chris Borland retired. He was 24.
- Linebacker Patrick Willis retired.
- Running back Frank Gore left in free agency.
- So did Michael Crabtree.
- Linebacker Aldon Smith was released recently after a string of infringements.
- Linebacker Ahmad Brooks was charged with misdemeanour sexual battery and stood down.
No wonder Jarryd Hayne is a good news story in America as well as Australia. He’s the only good thing that has happened to the 49ers in the last little while.
Should we be ordering our Jarryd Hayne action figure yet?
Well the Hayne Plane is definitely falling into one of the following categories in ascending order, but first a caveat, injury could freeze him at one of the following levels at any time. So far he’s been relatively injury free. I’m hoping it stays that way.
Training camp oddity
I’m thinking this only happens if he immediately incurs a serious injury or lays some serious stink down in the remaining pre-season games (multiple tackles for loss sprinkled with some costly turnovers (don’t coaches hate turnovers)). If this happens I think he still gets picked up by another team on waivers or on someone’s practice squad at the very least.
Tim Tebow 2.0
Continues to demand attention with his high quality play during the preseason, makes the roster while becoming an international phenomenon (makes some highlight plays) but eventually, once everyone has sufficiently scouted him, comes back to the pack, earning few reps as a backup running back and splitting time on PR/KR with other special team duties to make up his pay packet. Under this scenario, he flips between a few teams and eventually returns to Rugby League.
Jeremy Lin 2.0
Linsanity Australian style. Hayne continues to learn the systems and becomes a useful back up running back. He also becomes an above average PR/KR and lands a multiple year deal with the 49ers. In a few years he transitions for a bigger pay day or to win a championship and finishes his career in the NFL. In other words, he becomes a serviceable NFL player.
Made for Disney
This happens if Hayne continues to perform with little drop off in the next few pre-season games and earns the KR/PR slot, bides his time as a backup running back while learning the system, gets some back up reps late in games and takes his opportunities at running back while continuing to bust big plays from time to time ending up on the ESPN highlight reels every second or third week. Under this scenario he eventually becomes a starter, he finishes his career in the NFL, the NFL uses him as an ambassador in Australia and England (probably happens in all scenarios apart from Training Camp Oddity) and Disney start writing a script for the kid from Minto.
Subject of course to my injury caveat, I’m barracking for Made for Disney but I’m thinking he will land somewhere between Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin. Probably on the lower bound of Jeremy Lin.
What is sweeter than Jelly Bread?
- PNG Hunters. Finals looming now.
- News Limited throwing its toys out of the cot after the NRL decided to seal a free to air deal with Channel 9 before locking up Pay TV and online digital rights at the same time. Obviously it has implications for the Pay TV deal, especially expanding the free to air coverage to 4 live NRL games a week (incidentally a win for fans). News Limited responded by rushing to finalise the AFL rights involving the personal attendance of Rupert Murdoch at the announcement. This was closely followed by News Limited papers like the Australian and the Daily Telegraph launching a vitriolic and ill-conceived campaign against the NRL, including a very personal attack on David Smith, the CEO of the NRL. The Fin summarised it well. Gone are the days where News Limited uses the NRL as its personal play thing. Hopefully the NRL remains stout in the face of their shenanigans.
NRL Tips Round 25
Bit late posting again but all tips predated the post (as probably evidenced by my tipping the Sea Eagles). Going to keep it brief again this week.
Rabbitohs vs Broncos – Broncos
Sea Eagles vs Roosters – Sea Eagles
Eels vs Sharks – Sharks
Knights vs Bulldogs – Bulldogs
Storm vs Cowboys – Cowboys
Tigers vs Warriors – Tigers
Titans vs Dragons – Dragons
Raiders vs Panthers – Raiders
Season so far
9,037 from 219,076
NRL Fantasy Round 25
Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) for Elijah Taylor (Panthers) – Injury replacement.
Cameron Smith (Storm), Mike Cooper (Dragons), George Burgess (Rabbitohs), Shaun Fensom (Raiders), Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys), Corey Parker (Broncos), DCE (Sea Eagles), Ben Hunt (Broncos), Jack Bird (Sharks), Mitchell Aubusson (Roosters), Euan Aitken (Dragons), Semi Radradra (Eels) and Lachlan Coote (Cowboys)
Mitch Rein (Dragons), Ethan Lowe (Cowboys), Mitch Moses (Tigers) and Solomone Kata (Warriors)
Balance of the squad
Richard Fa’aoso (Eels), Sam Lisone (Warriors), Sam Mataora (Knights), Dene Halatau (Tigers), Jackson Hastings (Roosters), Iosia Soliola (Raiders), Edrick Lee (Raiders) and Delouise Hoeter (Tigers)
Season so far
5,891 of 117,411
EPL Tips Match Week 4
Newcastle vs Arsenal – Newcastle 2-1
Aston Villa vs Sunderland – Aston Villa 2-1
Bournemouth vs Leicester – Bournemouth 3-2
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace – Chelsea 3-1
Liverpool vs West Ham – Liverpool 2-0
Man City vs Watford – Man City 3-0
Stoke vs West Brom – Stoke 2-0
Tottenham vs Everton – Tottenham 2-1
Southampton vs Norwich – Southampton 1-0
Swansea vs Man U – Man U 1-0
BTW I’m going head to head with Lawro (Mark Lawrenson of the BBC) again this year. He has gone and changed his scoring system (a correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth TEN points and picking an exact score FORTY points). Let the games begin.
Me – 140 (5 from 10 with 3 perfect scores) and Lawro – 140 (5 from 10 with 3 perfect scores)
Season so far
Me – 230 and Lawro – 200 (Woke up at the same time)
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode on Friday, 2 October 2015 titled ‘2015 NRL Final Trimester Report Part 1’