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Parramatta Jarryd: The NRL's last boy scout

Which Jarryd Hayne will we remember when he hangs up his boots? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Expert
4th August, 2016
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In the equally horrifying and mesmerising over-the-top early 1990s Hollywood blockbuster, The Last Boy Scout, owner of the fictitious Los Angeles Stallions Shelly Marcone explains to Bruce Willis where he thinks American Football is headed.

“Football is a dyin’ beast, Joe. No heroes left. Not anymore. Since ol’ Sonny Werblin paid four hundred thousand dollars to Joe Namath in ’66, the son of a bitches have just got greedier. God Almighty, when’s it enough?”

Good question, Mr. Marcone.

Now it must be noted just how ridiculously ‘Hollywood’ this movie is.

In the opening scene, an under pressure and very insane Stallions player is forced to take a gun onto the field and shoot his way through the defensive line to score the winning touchdown (yes this happens).

He then takes his helmet off in the end zone and puts a bullet in his own head (that happens too). Not to be outdone, the final scene of this rollercoaster ride of one liners so bad they’re genius, sees us back at The Coliseum in L.A. Not only is there a shootout on the field but the bad guy gets shot up by a SWAT team and thrown through the propellers of a helicopter.

The big crowd is apparently happy to see all of this and cheer like their team has just won the Super Bowl.

While this is all just a tad farfetched – even for Americans – old Marcone has a point.

When is it enough?

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At what point are fans expected to continue to be as loyal as they are to their one team while players are switching between three and four different clubs?

Jarryd Hayne on Wednesday signed on to play for the Gold Coast Titans despite once telling the world he would never play for an NRL club other than the Parramatta Eels.

With the Eels blessing Hayne set off on his NFL adventure and even got some game time with the San Francisco 49ers. We were all in love. What a story. Then, just like that, Hayne was playing rugby for Fiji and even quicker, found himself back in Sydney looking at “new challenges”.

“Like I always said, if I ever came back I’d go to Parra if they wanted me,” Hayne told Triple M earlier in the year.

“That was always something I said from the start. It’s funny when you see media outlets say I’m doing this and I’m doing that. It’s even funnier when you see Parra fans go online and have a go at me. If you believe that you’re a clown.”

Well call me Bozo, call him Krusty and call her Doink.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been hoodwinked.

While it’s rather easy for the likes of Greg Inglis (part of the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal, signed and left the Broncos without playing a game) and Israel Folau (plays any sport with enough money) to come out and defend Hayne – it’s much harder for us to forgive.

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Yes, business is business and you must make a living for your family. But at what cost is the cost? When do fans give up?

Why should Joe Bloggs of Westmead or Jane Smith of Merrylands continue to invest emotionally when the players aren’t?

If Hayne was so emotionally invested in Parramatta why did he sign with the Titans?

Good for Mr. Hayne and good for the NRL hierarchy. They’ve got their Gary Ablett on the Gold Coast which spells trouble for the AFL – but at what cost?

The reason people watch rugby league at stadiums across the land and in their masses on television is because they’re emotionally invested. What happens when the disconnect becomes more?

But who are we to question professional athletes because yes we would do the same if the money was that good.

The only problem with this line of thinking is we are not those guys – we’re on the other side of the fence. And through thick and thin, we’re supposed to turn up every second weekend in the middle of winter, forking out exorbitant amounts of money just to watch a game of footy.

We’re the ones that buy the club memberships, $150 jerseys (that change every year anyway) and we’re expected to shut up, smile and like it while Player X pulls on his third jersey in as many seasons.

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We’re the suckers and we don’t even know it.

From the 1998 comedy, Baseketball.

Voiceover: “The games became subordinate to the quest for money, stadiums and arenas became no more than giant billboards to promote commercial products, players sold their services to the highest bidder, much like the hired guns of the Old West.”

And then…

Player at press conference: “After playing for New England, San Diego, Houston, St. Louis, a year for the Toronto Argonauts, plus one season at the Desert Inn, I’m happy to finally play here in the fine city of Miami.”

Agent: “Minnesota.”

Player: “Whatever. Shit.”

Let the disconnect continue.

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