At the beginning of each year, Aussie starlings flock to Los Angeles in search of the juicy but random morsels to be found in the feeding ground that is the US TV pilot season.
It’s a notoriously difficult passage. Many will vanish without trace, gobbled up by fat industry predators. Others will land in Hollywood’s fetid backwaters, waiting tables and killing time. And others, finding the environment hostile, will take flight and circle back to more friendly shores.
Only a few will make it. For those the rewards are great indeed. Stardom. Riches. A smorgasbord of celebrity booty.
Joining the soapie hatchlings for the journey next year will be a bird of a very different feather, a bird that has flown so high they could call him Icarus. Except they call him something else. Something pretty naff. They call him the Hayne Plane.
In an ideal world, rugby league’s golden boy Jarryd Hayne would get a reception similar to the opening scene of Fantasy Island when he shops around his credentials to the various NFL powers-that-be in the months ahead.
And for a while there, it looked like he might get it. “He’s an incredible athlete and a great competitor,” enthused Pete Carroll, coach of the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks. “Our scout Down Under has been on this for some time now.”
Turns out Pete was talking through his bottom. He has no idea who The Plane is. So, yes, he lives under a rock as well.
The truth is Jarryd Hayne has set himself an enormous assignment. The NFL is not exactly fertile hunting ground for Aussie footy players. Especially those of the rugby league persuasion. It’d be like cracking the US TV pilot season with a double twist in the pike position. Which is one hell of a contortion.
And yet. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s in training. He’s been playing NFL on his Playstation. What more does he need? I can feel a Flashdance moment coming on.
And what a great storyline it’d be. Minto Housing Commission boy makes it to the top of his local game, chucks it all in to pursue his dream and takes the world by storm. The Hollywood script would have him single-handedly winning the Super Bowl. Then kicking the winning goal of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Then claiming the marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Then, many years later, teaching a young protege to wax on, wax off.
As a Sea Eagles fan, I’m glad to see the back of him, to be honest. I may think differently when Origin comes around but right now it’s sayonara and good riddance.
But I really hope he makes it. Chucking in rugby league at 26 at the peak of his talents is a gutsy play. Sure, he may have rocks in his head but I like to see that kind of courage rewarded.
And if it doesn’t work out, there’s a Plan B. While he’s in the neighbourhood, he could always have a crack at pilot season.
Or he could set his sights on the silver screen. Let’s face it, Arnie, Bruce and Stallone are getting a bit long in the action hero tooth. And Chris Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman can’t do it all by themselves.
Hulk Hayne. I can see it now.