The Sunday Mail (Queensland)



JAR­RYD Hayne’s suc­cess in Amer­ica is proof that our game, rugby league, is the great­est pro­ducer of ath­letes.

No other football code could pro­duce an ath­lete like Hayne who could cross to the NFL and hold his own as a run­ner.

He is step­ping, swerv­ing and palm­ing or stiff-arm­ing their best.

Re­mem­ber ev­ery­one say­ing there’s dozens of Haynes in ev­ery Amer­i­can col­lege and while the ex-Eels sen­sa­tion is a great league ath­lete, he’s just av­er­age in the US?

Well, it turns out Hayne is ac­tu­ally a pretty rare beast.

There’s also at least another five Hayne-like NRL play­ers who would be able to com­pete in the NFL.

Hayne’s suc­cess in Amer­ica is also why the NRL’s new free-to-air deal with Chan­nel 9 is ac­tu­ally a great strate­gic move by CEO Dave Smith as it will ex­pose the masses to league for the first time.

When I was play­ing league, the NFL wasn’t read­ily avail­able on tele­vi­sion.

Even if it was, there wouldn’t be a hel­met big enough to fit my head and I val­ued my curls too highly back then.

To Hayne’s gen­er­a­tion, the NFL is ev­ery­where.

Fox­tel cov­ers games and the in­ter­net means fol­low­ing your favourite team from thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away is sim­ple.

The new tele­vi­sion rights deal will pro­vide the NRL mass ex­po­sure to in­spire kids in Perth, Mel­bourne and through­out the tra­di­tional states through sat­u­rated league cov­er­age.

Peo­ple will be forced to watch it and when they do they will dis­cover a great game with amaz­ing ath­letes given space and time to show how gifted they are.

There has been a lot of crit­i­cism of Smith be­cause of the deal he struck with Nine but it will pro­vide the game with un­prece­dented reach.

When David Gal­lop was in charge, peo­ple con­stantly crit­i­cised him for me­an­der­ing in mak­ing de­ci­sions and rul­ing by com­mit­tee rather than tak­ing charge and mak­ing a bold de­ci­sion.

With Smith, they have com­pared him un­favourably to for­mer AFL CEO An­drew Demetriou and won­dered why he isn’t as decisive.

Well, here is Smith be­ing decisive.

He has made a bold de­ci­sion and we need to be pa­tient to fully un­der­stand if it is the right one.

Peo­ple will be en­tranced by league when they are ex­posed to it like Hayne was when he first be­gan watch­ing the NFL.

Our sport can­ni­balises it­self too of­ten.

We are too con­cerned with find­ing fault in our code.

Media, of­fi­cials and fans have a habit of re­fus­ing to be happy about the game.

The facts are that league is in an ex­cel­lent po­si­tion and we should be proud of our code es­pe­cially now that one of our own is suc­ceed­ing on a world stage in a way no Aus­tralian has done be­fore.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia