Watching Jarryd Hayne’s performance over this State Of Origin series has made me think a lot about the players in our game that are natural leaders.
The amazing thing about Hayne is that, 12 months ago, he was a very different person. A good athlete, a great player, but off the field he was starting to go down the wrong road, by his own admission.
Hayne credits his time with the Fijian World Cup side for turning his life around. Getting out the spotlight, out of the public glare and mixing, not with boys that get paid to play footy, but with men who value much more important things, its changed him.
You could see it in him and you still can now. Seeing Hayne pray with the Fijian side before and after games. It was an amazing experience to watch him grow before our very eyes.
Talk is cheap with most people, but for Hayne, he has held those experiences close to his heart, and its made him a better person. A better person makes a better footballer, every single time.
Now in 2009, Hayne is a leader, a role model, and all that at such a young age.
It made me think of other players I think would make great captains. These days captains are chosen because they are good with the media, they are a clean skin or sometimes just because they have been around the longest.
Some players get the captaincy and it lifts them to a new level. Other players it can crush, the expectation is too much.
It might be too soon, and you never know how a player will handle it, but I think Jarryd Hayne has shown he has the ability to be a great captain and a great leader. I also think that he would handle the responsibility well, because I don’t think it would make him change too much from how he is conducting himself right now.
At club level, Hayne is head and shoulders above most of his team mates. He is the Eels these days. If Hayne plays well, they are in with a chance of winning the game. When he is off, they are hopeless.
At Origin level, well look at what he is doing. The Queensland side guts their way out to an amazing series win in Sydney last week, and yet even the Queenslanders were full of praise for Hayne who tried to take on the Maroons on his own.
Could he be ready to captain his state at such a young age?
I’d ask this. What does New South Wales need more than a good bloke that is willing to play his heart out and take his game to the next level?
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