Origin Wars: Episode 3 – Return of the Jarryd

It took three movies for Luke, Han, Leia and co to bring down the empire.

Not two, three.

At Suncorp Stadium tonight, in the cauldron of the State of Origin decider, the hopes of two states will rest on what one man decides to do, and make no mistake, athletes like Jarryd Hayne live for days like today.


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Put simply, if Hayne keeps his lip off the ground, the Blues will win.

Comfortably.

Playing out of position and despite having been away from the game for nearly two seasons, Hayne played a vital role in helping the Blues upset Queensland on their home soil.

Then 15 minutes into Game 2 in Sydney, Hayne had already scored a try and thrown his opposing centre over the sideline twice.

The force was with him.

The entire state was waiting for Hayne to fulfil the prophecy of the one who returns to bring balance to the Origin force.

But then Hayne stumbled, and the Maroon Empire struck back.

We all remember what happened.

It started with a few decision-making errors, Hayne held when he should have gave, then a pass missed when it should have stuck.

Fear crept in and we all know where that leads.

Anger at the lack of penalties being blown led to hate, then hate to suffering and before Blues fans knew what was happening Hayne has fallen into full-blow Dropped Lip mode and the game was all over.

No one would have learnt from Game 2 more than Jarryd Hayne.

Being the senior player in the side and our great hope returned to avenge so many fallen Blues brothers, Hayne will have watched in horror at his second half homage to Greg Bird with his flailing arms, dropped lip and general sooking at the play-the-ball.

He will have watched in horror and burned, knowing that it was less the personal mistakes he made and more the effect his whinging had on his teammates when their backs were against the wall that cost the Blues the chance to clinch it in Sydney.

He is better than that and he knows it, as do plenty of Blues fans.

But history is still undecided.

On a night where Hayne joins Blues greats Laurie Daley and Andrew Johns on 23 caps for the Blues, his legacy is still very much up in the air.

Personal performance wise he is probably already a Blues ‘great’, but a lack of series wins puts him at risk of being forgotten sooner than his talent warrants, buried underneath those coming through with longer lists of achievements.

This is a ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’ moment for Hayne and he knows full well that much of his legacy will be decided not just by how he plays tonight but on the result.

The lip will be tucked away tonight, all traces of fear and anger gone.

Tonight Blues fans will rejoice at the Return of the Jarryd.

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