He polarises opinions. The plane. The Hayne Plane. On Monday night we got word from across the Pacific Ocean that after only one season and been relegated to the Practice Squad, Jarryd Hayne was retiring from his NFL career to go and trial with Fiji rugby in a bi to make their Rio Olympics squad.
In a statement Hayne said:
"The Fiji Rugby Sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join...for the upcoming Olympics" (Source: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/us-sports/jarryd-hayne-announces-nfl-retirement-for-tilt-at-rugby-sevens-20160515-govs1x.html)
The report shocked everyone. Considering the New 49'ers coach Chip Kelly likes a running game. It was thought more spots on he 53 man roster would be accommodated for Running Backs. Hayne included. But perhaps there were talks behind closed doors that signalled warning signs for Hayne. Or maybe Hayne never intended to play 10 years in the NFL and went over with the specific dream to play in a run on side, tick that off the list and move on... no one knows. And anyone who claims they do is lying.
However this is where it gets interesting. From reports what we know is that Hayne has been offered the chance to trial with Fiji Rugby and is no certainty to play in Rio. And this is when the NRL went into a Hayne frenzy.
So this how the timeline would go. Hypothetically if Hayne makes the side for Rio he would miss the August deadline for NRL registration and would sign for a club in 2017, case closed. If he doesn't make the cut in the next couple of weeks, he could look to beat the deadline and register with a NSWRL club (reports are that Newtown would fast track his registration) and be eligible to play for NSW. He would still probably not play for an NRL side until very late in the season (finals 2016 at the earliest) or, again start for a side in 2017.
Theatre cooler talk is that in either scenario Hayne will have a few suitors and most likely end up at the Roosters. The Roosters shed plenty of cash from their salary cap last year and could probably fit Hayne in.
So in the scenario of the latter happening we have to ask the question, if Hayne's Fiji dream doesn't work out, should he be considered for State of Origin?. Laurie Daley has come out and said that if Hayne was registered and available of course he would be considered.
It is very likely the latter scenario will happen and that is because Fiji Rugby are no slouches when it comes to 7s. They will probably challenge for gold in Rio and that begs the question can they fit Hayne into their structure and get him up to speed enough to be ready?. Lets not forget, he is a Rugby League player, not a Union Player. Worse still Rugby 7s is a completely different animal. Worse still he has't even played the cousin code to Rugby (Rugby League) since 2014. For the past two years he has been eating, sleeping and living, American Football. This isn't like a Sonny Bill transition where it is League to Union and some of the structures are the same. This is more than a code switch.
Therefore, where does that leave us? Should Hayne be considered for State of Origin?. Possibly, but I don't think you can slot him straight into the number 1.
1. Josh Dugan/Lachlan Coote/Matt Moylan, the wealth of talent Daley has fullback is extraordinary and these three players are all at the top of their game, all playing fullback, all have match fitness. And one of them, Dugan, was NSW best player in 2015. Dugan is now an elite Rugby League player and in the top echelon of representative talent. If all this happens Dugan will certainly be the biggest loser in the aftermath.
2. His body shape and match fitness. Hayne's body shape has changed significantly since his time in the NFL. No doubt with he muscle he had to pack on to become a line backer he will have lost a yard of pace and his agility will be hindered. He has tackled or been tackled by anyone without pads since 2014 and he has absolutely no game time under his belt. Yes, muscle memory will kick in to a degree, but in the NFL you play in spurts. In special teams, you go on run hard fro 2 minutes then come off. I would argue Hayne would struggle to make it through an 80 game of park football, let alone sustain the pace required for State of Origin.
3. Loyalty. Plain and simple. No one is begrudging of Hayne for going and chasing his dreams. I am for one in the camp that wished him well and hoped he'd be successful. We should all get the same support and respect for chasing our dreams. However does that mean when it doesn't work out you can simply come back and pick up where you left off without paying your dues?
1. From a revenue perspective he is the NRLs meal ticket. He generates discussion wherever he goes. He is an exciting talent. He puts fans in seats. And no doubt NSW could build a whole campaign around "The Hayne Plane touching down" and watch the dollars roll in. Especially in State of Origin, his supporters would want to see him dismantle QLD, and his detractors would want to see QLD touch him up a bit.
2. He has talent to burn. No doubt about it. I will stick with my opinion that he doesn't yet possess the right body shape of an NRL player and couldn't go for 80 on NFL match fitness. But he could be NSW answer to Michael Morgan coming off the bench. He could wear 14 come on at crucial times and try and use his newfound size to create havoc two wide of the ruck. Just like Morgan he would add some size to NSW outside backs.
3. 2014. Let's not forget in 2014 Hayne single handedly blasted QLD to shreds. He nullified Thurston and was too hard too handle for our outside backs. If he could bring any of that form to NSW I'm sure they would welcome him with open arms.
There is no doubt that Origin always provides something special and only time will tell how this saga turns out for Hayne, NSW and the NRL. But with Origin talk in full swing what better way to get crowds hyped up for the spectacle.
Later this week I will pick my potential Origin teams and then all we have to do is play the waiting game. I love Origin!. Bring it on!