Jarryd Hayne credits NSW coach Ricky Stuart with his resurrection
By Paul Crawley The Daily Telegraph
JARRYD Hayne has revealed that Ricky Stuart’s faith in him to perform on the Origin stage reignited his stumbling season.
In a wide-ranging interview, Hayne also told how being away from Parramatta had helped relieve the pressure on him – while unannounced visits to his old primary school has made him realise just how lucky he is to have the life he has.
“When anyone puts belief in you, you always go to that next level,” Hayne said when asked about Stuart’s influence on his return to form.
“Whenever anyone is telling you that you can do it, it gives you a lift. It boosts your confidence, especially when you are down.”
Hayne said that is exactly where he was before he arrived in camp for Origin one in the wake of Parramatta’s disastrous start to the season.
“I guess that’s probably been the highlight of my series, knowing that when I came here in game one a lot of people were against me,’ he said.
“People were coming out in the paper saying don’t pick me and for Ricky to come out and say; ‘No, I want him’, he built something in me that is Origin.
“He knew what I could do at Origin level and he had the confidence that I would do it. And that is what he has done for all these players.
“He is a passionate coach and anyone who knows Ricky knows that and it reflects through his players and the way we play. He has got the best out of every player. He has had time to sit back and focus on what needs to be done and he has done it.”
The turnaround in Hayne’s on-field attitude has been there for all to see – transforming from a player who looked unhappy and fed-up to a man again enjoying his football.
“(Origin) has obviously done something to me, it’s hard to put your finger on what, but I guess the Origin series has definitely given me time to be away from the Parramatta scene and focus on footy and get that buzz back,’ he said.
Often criticised for not appearing to care enough about his club form or his team’s fortunes, Hayne said he accepts the criticism comes with the territory but he tries to always keep it in context.
“I have always said and I have always maintained that I will get credit for doing things I shouldn’t get credit for and I will get criticised for things that weren’t my fault,” he explained.
“You have to keep telling yourself what the truth is.”
And the truth is right now Hayne is in a happy place and visits to his old primary school – John Warby Public School at Airds – where he rose from housing commission to become a household name have helped him realise how he can now provide hope to the next generation.
Asked if he was proud of the man he had become, Hayne said: “Of course, when you sit back and look at it that way. I don’t really look at it that way every day but I guess when I have a bit of time out or when I am down at Campbelltown I sit back and think this is where I have come from, this is what I can do.
“The thing for me now is to try and give that belief back to the kids and the people who are in the position I was in then. I have done a couple of weeks down at my old primary school this year, just trying to help the kids down there. I had wanted to keep it private.”