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Who cares what Jarryd Hayne does?

Hayne has abandoned the Eels for the cash on the coast. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)
Roar Pro
3rd August, 2016
26

The late literary critic Edmund Wilson wrote a famous essay in 1945 entitled ‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’

In it, Wilson dismissed the mystery detective novel and its practitioners, such as Ackroyd’s Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Dashiel Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

While it’s true Jarryd Hayne is an infinitely greater figure than Christie, Chandler and their ilk, the question must be asked: ‘Who cares what Jarryd Hayne does?’

Certainly the Gold Coast Titans do, anticipating the on-field success he might bring – and, more importantly, the money he might bring and the profile he will give the club.

That’s the Hayne brand, to use the modern, fashionable term.

But non-Titans fans might think Hayne has branded himself as a joke.

When Hayne left Parramatta and the NRL to chase his dream of an American football career, he went with goodwill.

It seemed a romantic if doomed quest, but Hayne shocked everyone by making the final 53 with the San Francisco 49ers, a huge achievement.

There were mistakes and disappointments in his 2015 season, and limited understanding and absurd distortions from the Australian media, but Hayne showed enough to say he had a real future in the NFL if he persevered, did more hard yakka, and accepted the disappointments along the way.

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Instead, in May Hayne announced he was leaving the NFL to try out for the Fijian Olympic rugby sevens team.

The sevens ambition was as big a shock as his original NFL ambition.

Had he jumped or was he pushed from the NFL? It doesn’t matter. If he was punted from San Francisco, he had other gridiron options to pursue.

If Hayne played sevens rugby fulltime, after six months he would be a sensation, but he expected to play for five minutes and go to the Olympics, jumping over
others who had devoted a career to go to Rio.

It was no shock when he didn’t make the cut.

Since then, the Hayne brand has been hawked around.

Rugby with the Waratahs? Rugby in France? Do an Eddie the Eagle and try ski-jumping? Skateboards? Marbles?

Hayne had promised hand on heart if he returned to the NRL, it would be to Parramatta.

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Eels fans might think he had a moral obligation to join the club that had nurtured him since junior days, especially given their troubles.

Parramatta are a brand in need. Well, Hayne has now branded himself on his now-limited horizon.

What’s next? A charity boxing bout against Paul Gallen or Sonny Bill Williams?