One of the many things that has stunned people regarding the ‘Hayne Change’ was the great belief he had in himself that allowed him to risk the security of a multi-million dollar contract with Parramatta to attempt to make it in the NFL.
To most people Hayne had already ‘made it’ and his desire to step outside his comfort zone seemed almost professionally irresponsible.
What motivates a man to search for such greatness!? The presence of a ‘higher power’ shouldn’t be underestimated – Hayne admitted so much in an interview with The Footy Show a few months ago.
“I’ve had my dark days in San Fran,” he confessed.
“I’ve had days where, literally, if I didn’t have my faith I’d be home. I’d be back here in a heart beat. I’ve sat in hotels, looking at ceilings.”
“There’s definitely been days when I’ve questioned it and just said, ‘What’s doing?’ But from a faith point of view, my faith is too strong for me to even consider coming back.”
Hayne’s story may be the one capturing headlines currently but the importance of people’s faith in crossing codes was something that stood out to me when interviewing many of the subjects of the 2008 publication ‘The Converts: Crossing Codes’ – written in conjunction with Bob Howitt.
Blockbusting winger Inga Tuigamala provided me with the three-hour interview that paved the way for this book to become a reality – and during this in-depth interview he talked extensively about his faith’s role in providing him with the confidence to have a go at professional rugby league.
While playing league at Wigan, ‘Inga the Winger’ also helped another subject of ‘The Converts’ book, Jason Robinson, to turn his life (and lifestyle) around by becoming a Christian.
Many people (especially in the Northern Hemisphere!) rate the twinkle-toed former England rugby captain as the most successful convert between rugby and league – while Brad Thorn, indisputably the most successful rugby league forward to switch to rugby union, remains a very staunch Christian to this day.
When you start putting all these names together, there’s plenty of evidence that makes those who have changed codes and held strong religious beliefs – and not just Christian beliefs, as seen by Anthony Mundine – to be more than a coincidence.
No, I haven’t been to church in years. But after writing this article I’m certainly considering showing face at the local church this Sunday – it just might work wonders for my code leap from cricket to golf!
Been saying it for years. Years! Yet more than a decade after he called time on his illustrious career – a career which saw him play all 249 of his NRL matches for the Newcastle Knights – there is still no statue of Andrew Johns at McDonald Jones Stadium.