JARRYD THE CENTRE OF BIG BOSS’S ATTENTION
JOHN York is standing in the far left corner of a training field he owns. So is Jarryd Hayne. Coincidence? No.
And we have no quotes from the millionaire San Francisco 49ers owner, a staffer explaining that Mr York will not be taking questions.
Appearances on ground by this club patriarch are limited.
Which is why heads turn when the man, whose son Jed is CEO, walks slowly across the manicured grass. His presence is seen, first, by running backs coach Tom Rathman.
As you’d expect of a retired cancer research pathologist, York’s poker face is no joke.
He lingers, watching Hayne intently as the former NRL player sweats, runs and catches his way through the final home practice before jetting to Denver for Saturday’s game.
The players are stretched – 10 minutes earlier as classical music blared from speakers hidden in the perimeter fencing. Later, AC/DC will get a run. Twice.
Hayne and his fellow running backs, guys such as superstar Reggie Bush, move to that left corner of the field where, surrounded by blacked-out fencing, they work with the precision of those US military types who, rather than shoot rifles, twirl them.
Today, it’s drilling footwork with cones. Last Friday, an elevated rope ladder.
The players first run through the rope forwards. Then sideways, holding a ball. And looking up. Always eyes-up.
Hayne looks anything but the rookie.
Twice last week, players’ feet hit rope. But not Hayne.
Nor did he disturb any of the eight little orange markers placed out before him.
He still runs a little high, but is improving due to his persistence – shown much later in the session when he is the last man to walk off the field that York owns.