The Courier-Mail



HE HAS stunned Amer­ica with his sen­sa­tional de­but for the San Fran­cisco 49ers but Jar­ryd Hayne’s fam­ily may be the only peo­ple on the planet not sur­prised.

“We all knew he could throw and catch an NFL ball – he used to play the game with us out on the street,” Hayne’s 10-year-old brother Jonah said last night.

The pride of Hayne’s sib­lings – Jonah, younger brother Julius, 5, and sis­ter Evie, 12 – is matched only by his fa­ther Manoa, a tal­ented Fi­jian Aus­tralian who played rugby league for the Rab­bitohs, Wests and the War­riors.

Manoa said his son was “work­ing hard and fol­low­ing his dream” in the NFL.

“It was brave, es­pe­cially walk­ing away from a $10 mil­lion con­tract (in Syd­ney) to start over again liv­ing out of a suit­case and wait­ing for a phone call,” he said.

But it’s a gam­ble set to pay huge div­i­dends. Hayne has been an in­stant hit in the US, with his No.38 jersey in hot de­mand at the San Fran­cisco 49ers team store.

A staff mem­ber said: “Ev­ery time I pick up the phone, peo­ple are say­ing: ‘Have you got Hayne, have you got Hayne?’ It’s crazy.”

JAR­RYD Hayne, Jesse Wil­liams, three other Aus­tralians and a Kiwi got early good news but face some more ner­vous days as their NFL clubs de­cide whether to keep or cut them.

The fi­nal week of the NFL pre-sea­son is a cut-throat time, with team man­age­ment tap­ping play­ers on the shoul­der and send­ing them on the way.

The clubs need to re­duce their ros­ters to 53 by Sun­day.

For­mer NRL star Hayne sur­vived the first round of ros­ter re­duc­tions at the San Fran­cisco 49ers as ex­pected.

Wil­liams the 191cm, 148kg Bris­bane de­fen­sive tackle, who had a can­cer­ous kid­ney re­moved just three months ago, con­tin­ued his mirac­u­lous re­cov­ery by dodg­ing the Seat­tle Seahawks’ ini­tial cuts.

Another Aus­tralian gi­ant, 198cm, 145kg of­fen­sive tackle David Yankey, ap­pears set to re­main with the Min­nesota Vik­ings af­ter sur­viv­ing the cull.

One of the du­elling Aus­tralian pun­ters Brad Wing will be gone from the Pittsburgh Steel­ers ros­ter by Sun­day.

New Zealand run­ning back Paul Lasike’s NFL dreams re­main in reach, with the Ari- zona Car­di­nals keep­ing the 25year-old while ax­ing 11 play­ers.

How­ever, Gee­long-raised Dal­las Cowboys punter Tom Hornsey, US col­lege football’s top punter for 2013 af­ter star­ring with the Univer­sity of Mem­phis, was cut af­ter com­pet­ing with in­cum­bent Chris Jones for the job.

It was no sur­prise Hayne was not among the 10 play­ers axed by the 49ers af­ter he daz­zled coaches, fans and US media in three pre-sea­son games in re­cent weeks.

Hayne is ex­pected to make the fi­nal 53-man ros­ter, although the fi­nal pre-sea­son game against the San Diego Charg­ers on Fri­day could de­cide his fate.

The 49ers play their NFL reg­u­lar-sea­son opener against the Min­nesota Vik­ings on Septem­ber 14.

The team has mul­ti­ple op­tions at Hayne’s run­ning back and punt re­turn po­si­tions.

Head coach Jim Tom­sula de­scribed Bruce Elling­ton, the team’s punt re­turner last sea­son, as “very quick” and “ex­plo­sive” af­ter he shrugged off in­jury to play against the Den­ver Bron­cos on Sun­day.

Elling­ton said he was de­ter­mined to keep his job.

 ??  ?? THAT’S MY BOY: Jar­ryd Hayne's fa­ther Manoa Thompson with kids (from left) Jonah, Julius and Evie; (be­low) Hayne with mum Jodie.
THAT’S MY BOY: Jar­ryd Hayne's fa­ther Manoa Thompson with kids (from left) Jonah, Julius and Evie; (be­low) Hayne with mum Jodie.
 ??  ?? A KEEPER: Jar­ryd Hayne sur­vived the first team cull.
A KEEPER: Jar­ryd Hayne sur­vived the first team cull.

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