Worlds best not in hunt for spot
THE man voted the best rugby league player on the planet insists he’s going nowhere, with international footballer of the year Jarryd Hayne quashing speculation of a move to the new Greater Western Sydney (GWS) AFL franchise.
Hayne was awarded the game’s highest individual honour at a gala ball in Leeds on Monday night, the Parramatta sensation beating Kangaroo teammates Greg Inglis and Billy Slater for the gong.
The prize comes as recognition of one of the most spectacular patches of form ever witnessed in the game, the sort of form that has him in the sights of newly-appointed GWS coach Kevin Sheedy.
While Hayne’s blend of speed, skill and athleticism would make him a natural fit to follow former Brisbane fullback and Gold Coast AFL recruit Karmichael Hunt in making the code switch, the Parramatta star said he was committed to rugby league and signing a new four-year deal with the Eels.
Despite being named the game’s best player, Hayne has been a largely peripheral figure during Australia’s charge to the Four Nations final with the Eels star struggling to come to grips with his switch to the wing.
Hayne did most of his damage in 2009 from fullback, but with Slater (who won the international award last year) having a mortgage on the green and gold No.1 jumper, Hayne has been forced to settle for a spot on the flanks.
Hayne’s Origin performances for NSW when he played on the wing were something to behold, yet they paled in comparison to the six man-of-the-match performances in the space of seven weeks which pushed Parramatta to within 80 minutes of premiership glory.
“Some of the things I’ve done I don’t even know I’m doing and that’s how it looks,” Hayne said of his 2009.
“That’s why when I score great tries I get carried away with the celebrations – I’m just like a fan in the crowd going ‘what did I just do?’ and wanting the replay to come on to see what I just did.”
Hayne (fullback) was joined by Inglis (centre), Cameron Smith (hooker) and Johnathan Thurston (halfback) in the team of the year, with Kiwi duo Benji Marshall (five-eighth) and Fuifui Moimoi (prop) also named.