The Sunday Mail (Queensland)



JARRYD Hayne has no idea who he has to protect.

He should know. Everyone else does.

It’s so obvious that, right now in the 49ers meeting room, head running backs coach Tom Rathman fires off routes and rushes, protection­s and passes like bullets from an M16.

So c’mon, Haynsey, who have you got? Quick, son. You need to know.

“But I didn’t know,’’ Hayne admits. “They were talking about changing protection on plays and I’m thinking, ‘hang on, I don’t even know who I’m protecting in the first place’.

“Those first couple of weeks, I’d walk out of the classroom saying, ‘I don’t know what just happened that last hour ... I don’t know what’s going on’.” They were the dark days of sporting story that has

a brightened with every step, with another big leap forward to come today when Hayne takes to the field again in a trial against the Denver Broncos.

“Oh, there’s been some dark days,’’ Hayne continues. “Days where I thought it would be too much. Where I thought ‘what have I got myself into?’.”

“(But) there was no way I was leaving.’’

When this Aussie oddity eventually makes that final cut and, barring injury or some other calamity, he will, US journalist­s will undoubtedl­y ask where it began.

He will take them to Sydney’s Star Casino, to a table where he and Brett Finch sat together, drinking beers.

“It was the Green Bay Packers, a championsh­ip game,’’ Hayne recalls. “Brett Favre was playing, Finchy’s favourite player, and we ended up at the casino in the early hours.

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