Why emotion got to cool-head Hayne
An emotional Jarryd Hayne, who ran into a sea of blue in the crowd after the Blues' remarkable drought-breaking 6-4 win in Origin II, says it was special to share the moment with long-suffering fans.
"I guess I've wanted to do that for a long time. To end it like that and give it to the fans – they hurt just as much as us," Hayne said after the game.
"That's what was so special, to celebrate with them... they go through that hard run with us. To run the ball out, I was that fidgety getting the ball. I kind of didn't want to kick it, I thought 'I'm just going to run it out'. I did that and celebrated with the fans."
He said to hear the joy in their voices was "a special moment and something I'll cherish forever".
He said there had been plenty of sleepless nights over the years contributing to the pent-up emotion of the win.
"A lot of sleepless nights, where you look back and say 'what if?', where you could have done this better or done that better. Tonight was looking like it was going to be that night again but we pulled through," he said.
He described the win as "definitely" the highlight of his career to date.
"It really hasn't sunk in. It's so surreal at the moment, we haven't been here before, we haven't been here for a long long time. I guess no-one's felt like this before. It's going to be special when we lift that shield up in Queensland."
Hayne also praised halfback Trent Hodkinson, who scored what proved to be the match-winning and only try of the in the 73rd minute of play.
"Hodko pulled out a huge play and I just knew [the kick] was going to go over. He looked a bit tense going into the ball but as soon as he kicked it, that's what Hodko's good at, he's so calm under pressure – that's why he's here."
He said the Maroons had done their homework on his game and were shutting him down.
"The way Hodko scored that try was the way we needed to attack, we needed to go through them. I was so worried about 'out the back, out the back' – I had two or three people on me at some stages in the game. It's kind of hard out there to change the game plan but we definitely need to go through them more because they've obviously worried about me going out the back."
Hayne described his remarkable try-saving tackle on Sam Thaiday, knocking the ball out when the second-rower seemed certain to score a try that would have put Queensland out to an insurmountable 10-0 lead, as "just my job".
"You just do all you can. You throw your body into it, do anything you can. I guess with experience you kind of hope the ball is near there. I actually thought when I went to tackle him 'just do it because that's your job' but when I felt it drop out I was like 'no that's a knock-on'. I was so adamant when I got up to the ref."