NRL royalty to a jail cell: The rise and fall of Jarryd Hayne

Australian Associated Press
·4-min read
Jarryd Hayne, pictured here in the NRL and NFL.
Jarryd Hayne has gone from Dally M medallist and successful NFL convert to convicted rapist. Image: Getty/AAP

From rugby league royalty to a jail cell, the fall from grace for Jarryd Hayne has been steep.

The dual Dally M Medallist, NSW State of Origin and Australian Test star on Monday became a convicted rapist.

Stints representing state and country, flying high in the NFL or chasing an Olympics rugby sevens dream in Fijian paradise faded from view.

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A Sydney jury found the 33-year-old guilty of sexual intercourse without consent of a woman in her Newcastle home in 2018. It was the same night as the NRL grand final and Hayne had been at a buck's party.

He denied any criminality, but said he regretted what happened between the pair.

In any other year, had his life not taken such a dramatic turn, the game-breaking fullback may have instead been starring himself on rugby league's biggest stage.

Like he did in 2009 after leading Parramatta to the premiership decider against Melbourne with an electrifying run of sustained form not seen by an individual before or since.

For sheer talent, the grand final was where Hayne belonged.

Or in the Origin cauldron, or at Rugby World Cups.

Or even playing American football following his daring mid-career, cross-code switch to the world-famous San Francisco 49ers in 2015.

From the moment he debuted for the Eels as an 18-year-old in 2006, Hayne had the sporting world at his feet.

Esteemed track coach Roger Fabri said he could have been an Olympic sprinter, but Hayne - initially at least - chose rugby league.

The son of South Sydney, Western Suburbs, Auckland Warriors and Fiji Test star Manoa Thompson made an immediate impact while forging his own career, bagging 17 tries from 16 games in his maiden NRL season.

He was the league's rookie of the year and swiftly thrust into the Kangaroos' squad.

Origin and Test call-ups came the following year, then came a $2 million contract extension in 2008.

In 2009, Hayne was simply sublime, claiming his first Dally M Medal after racking up an unprecedented six successive man-of-the-match awards en route to Parramatta's incredible run to the grand final.

With the Storm subsequently being stripped of the title, many claimed Hayne's Eels should have been handed the premiership.

They weren't, but the "Hayne Plane" continued to soar anyway.

The fullback was NSW's player of the series when the Blues finally broke Queensland's eight-year streak of Origin triumphs in 2014, the same season he collected a second Dally M Medal.

Jarryd Hayne, pictured here arriving at Downing Centre District Court in Sydney.
Jarryd Hayne arrives at Downing Centre District Court in Sydney. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Another rape allegation during NFL stint in America

Stunningly, while at the peak of his powers, Hayne told teammates he was leaving the Eels to pursue a path to the NFL.

The bold gamble, and endless hours of hard work and sacrifice, all paid off when Hayne made his NFL debut - and a winning one - for the 49ers against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium in September 2015.

He announced his retirement from American football in May 2016, saying he didn't want to learn a new play book under a fresh coach the following season, and immediately joined the Fijian rugby sevens team.

Hayne played five games at the London Sevens at Twickenham but failed to make the 2016 Rio Olympics squad.

It would later come to light that a woman accused Hayne of rape at his Californian apartment in 2015, after the pair met at a bar while he was playing for the 49ers.

She filed a civil rape lawsuit in December 2017, but the matter was resolved in August 2019, five months before it was due to go to trial.

Professionally, Hayne returned to the NRL, firstly via the Gold Coast Titans, before making a much-hyped comeback to Parramatta in 2018.

But he was unable to scale his previous dizzy heights.

Now Jarryd Lee Hayne has plunged to an unimaginable life low, due to be sent to jail for his sex crimes.

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