When Jarryd Hayne made the announcement that he was leaving the NRL to pursue a NFL career people laughed.
People underestimated him. His abilities.
In May I even wrote an article suggesting that they shouldn’t write him off and that he could definitely make it over there.
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In fact I went some ways past that, suggesting that Hayne would be bigger than Bradman once his domination of the NFL was complete.
After just two pre-season games the question of whether Hayne will make it or not no longer needs to be answered.
He has made it.
The 49ers longest punt return of 2014 was 23 yards.
Hayne topped that number three times in one game (23, 27 and 34).
In his second game of NFL.
Against men who have lived and breathed the intricacies of the sport their entire life.
Oh yeh, and that is not counting his massive yardage gains playing as a running back.
Or such national pride-swelling game commentary like;
“Jarryd Hayne is the story of the pre-season in pro football” and “Wow. He does that a couple more times and were all gonna to be eatin’ vegemite up here!”
But despite his brilliance and almost certain selection in the final squad, people are once again underestimating him and diminishing his achievements.
All I have heard this week are comments about how more NRL players should play NFL, how ‘if Hayne can do it why can’t (insert NRL player)’.
There is a very simple reason.
He can. They can’t.
Sure there are ball players like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Shaun Johnson who have Hayne’s step and agility, and big wingers like Semi Radradra and Manu Vatuvei that have his power.
Guys like James Roberts and James Tedesco certainly have his speed.
But no one (yes, no one) has all three.
Inglis comes close, but still can’t match Hayne for sustained burst speed nor is he quite at Hayne’s agility level.
By the way if you are wondering who may be third behind Inglis in my list, it would be daylight followed closely by more daylight.
Hayne is the complete athletic package.
Of course we considered him elite here in the NRL but it has taken two pre-season games half a planet away for league-lovers to realise exactly what it was we had and what we let slip away.
Condescendingly mocking Hayne for chasing something no aussie has caught was pretty low to begin with, but those so-called fans and pundits out there jumping on the ‘anyone who watches Fatty’s footy show would dominate the NFL’ band wagon really need to pull their heads in.
Yes he is blazing a trail for future aussies to follow, but a (very) precious few will have the talent to tread that path.
There will be time enough for talking and comparisons when the Hayne Plane finally lands – for now let’s all just enjoy the flight.
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