Jarryd Hayne NRL career highlights
Play it again Jarryd.
Whether that happens and the Hayne Plane is sighted in NRL skies again after he departs to chase his NFL dream remains to be seen, but for now kick back and enjoy the brilliance of one of the most talented players to grace our game in modern times.
The Hayne Plane has landed. It took him three games to get off the ground as far as four-pointers were concerned, but he caught up fast, bagging 17 tries in his first 16 NRL starts, including four in one sitting against the Knights in just his seventh game.
Hayne rides that form all the way to the Origin arena, where he'd go on to represent NSW 20 times. For everything he went on to achieve in the interstate cauldron, it's hard to go past the play he pulled off just 40 minutes into his first game. Reeling in a Maroons grubber at halfway, Hayne beats centre Justin Hodges as he tiptoes down the sideline, then puts it on the toe before regathering for a remarkable Origin try, all after the halftime siren had sounded.
By no means his finest hour, injury and suspension cost Hayne a third of his season and a crucial Origin encounter when the Blues led the series 1-0. The shooting incident in Kings Cross hangs over his head all year, and the Eels bow out of the competition a disappointing 11th. But just as you never look a gift horse in the mouth, you never write off Jarryd Hayne, and by the time the World Cup rolls around he's back to his sparkling best for Fiji with three tries in four games, paving the way for...
Be still our beating hearts. Whether it's a chip and chase that leaves Tigers coach Tim Sheens lamenting: "You prepare all week for it, doesn't mean you stop it"; THAT try at Kogarah to help down minor premiers the Dragons in the first week of the finals, where he beat every man, woman and child in red and white; or just the sheer fact he polled the maximum 18 points from six incredible weeks to claim the 2009 Dally M Medal, Hayne was without peer. In the process he drove copywriters everywhere nuts looking for superlatives to describe his incredible feats.
Almost inevitably Hayne comes down from the dizzying heights reached a year earlier as the Eels struggled, but he's still good for a few of those pin-balling long range runs that left half a Panthers side for dead, not to mention some equally brutal and desperate defence both in the line and at fullback. Oh and there was a stretch where he collected a lazy 10 tries from seven games.
2011 saw Hayne's move to five-eighth take shape. It didn't end so well and resulted in Hayne being shifted in the final game of the season back to fullback which birthed an amazing long-range effort against the Titans, where he outran noted speedster David Mead. Not that his time at six isn't worth mentioning. In one game against the Bulldogs, Hayne dropped Dene Halatau and close mate Trent Hodkinson with bone-rattling hits in a matter of minutes as well as scoring a crucial try.
One of Hayne's leaner years, with the Eels capturing the wooden spoon and Hayne missing half the season due to injury. While he scored eight tries in 12 games and took part in the entire Origin series, his injury woes reared their head in the warm-up of Origin III where a foot injury kept him out for three weeks following the fixture. His return in Round 20 to help the Eels get over Melbourne in a surprise win though the fullback would be stretchered off with a knee injury that would rub him out for the rest of the year.
Hamstring troubles would compound another low year for Hayne and the Eels – the club falling to its second consecutive wooden spoon. While Hayne started a year off with a bang with a hattrick against the Warriors, the fullback only crossed for another five with his hamstring injury restricting him to 15 games. A late season run for the Eels gave Australian coach Tim Sheens enough confidence to pick him for Australia's victorious World Cup run though where at right centre Hayne hit a dazzling patch of form, scoring nine tries in four games, and setting up a few more for wingman Brett Morris.
2014 would be his best season in five years, since he sparked that miraculous run to the Grand Final. Hayne would secure his second Dally M medal alongside Johnathan Thurston, his first Origin series win in eight attempts which included a Man of the Match effort in Origin I, the Brad Fittler medal for being NSW's best alongside Ryan Hoffman, and finished as the NRL season's leading try-scorer with 20 mostly memorable efforts in 21 games. He almost pushed the new-look Eels to their first finals berth since 2009, though they fell at the final hurdle.