Jarryd Hayne is released from Ryde Police Station. Picture: Bill Hearne
Jarryd Hayne is released from Ryde Police Station. Picture: Bill Hearne

The moment Hayne’s world fell apart

RUGBY league legend Phil Gould made a harsh but prescient call about Jarryd Hayne earlier this month as the star confronted an uncertain NRL future.

Asked where he thought Hayne would end up as he attempted to squeeze more money out of the Parramatta Eels - or a rival club - Gould was emphatic. "Probably unhappy. Unsettled. Unfulfilled," he wrote on Twitter.

"At his best, he's a talent," Gould added. "Can definitely win you games. 2009 was a long time ago though."

The year that Hayne emerged as the best player in rugby league feels like a lifetime ago given everything that's happened since.

It's not as though his life had been incident-free at that point - he was shot at by a gunman in Kings Cross the year before - but you could fill several books with the ups and downs of the now 30-year-old's time since then.

The most recent low point - which has Hayne facing up to two decades behind bars if he's found guilty of an alleged sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman on grand final day - could be the final nail in the coffin of the code-hopper's career.

He was talented, ambitious and moral, born to a single mum at a southwest Sydney housing commission. But the Hayne Plane flew too close to the sun, and the golden child risks going up in smoke.

It was his ill-fated entrance into the notoriously hard-drinking, troubled heart of the San Francisco 49ers that marked the start of a bitter decline in luck for one of Australia's most beloved athletes.

Jarryd Hayne and his mother Jodie after his press conference to announce he will be playing with the San Francisco 49ers. Picture: Gregg Porteous
Jarryd Hayne and his mother Jodie after his press conference to announce he will be playing with the San Francisco 49ers. Picture: Gregg Porteous

A host of Bay Area news outlets - including KBR, the East Bay Times and the Mercury News - carried the story of Hayne's arrest by Sex Crime Squad detectives on Monday.

It's the second time he's created headlines in San Francisco since leaving the 49ers in 2016 after a woman in her mid-20s accused him of raping her at his apartment in December 2015.

Hayne has unequivocally denied the allegations, which were investigated by San Jose Police but did not result in charges because of a reported lack of evidence.

The woman is now pursuing damages in a civil court, with a trial set for 2020.

Current and former 49ers players' brushes with the law have provided regular fodder this decade in what's been a tumultuous era for one of the NFL's most storied franchises.

Thirteen team members were arrested in a six-year period on charges including drink-driving, illegal possession of a weapon, hit and run, disorderly conduct, sexual battery, driving under the influence and vandalism.

Defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse after police said his pregnant fiancee showed "visible injuries" of sexual abuse.

Charges were dropped in April 2017 when the alleged victim exercised her legal right not to press charges.

A group of Niners all lived in the affluent San Jose neighbourhood of Silver Creek, 15 minutes' drive from where Hayne lived in his time with the team.

Police were regularly called to their wild late-night parties, and tight end Aldon Smith drove into tree at 7am one Thursday.

"It's a risk-reward business," said former general manager and the man who signed Hayne, Trent Baalke.

"There are other times when the character of an individual coming into the NFL was sterling. But they end up being guys who get in trouble.

"It's not always the guys that come into the league with a chequered past that leave the league with a chequered past. It can be the opposite."

Jarryd Hayne leaves the Ryde Police Station. Picture: Bill Hearne
Jarryd Hayne leaves the Ryde Police Station. Picture: Bill Hearne

Hayne's life has been a whirlwind since California.

He played for Fiji's Rugby Sevens side in an attempt to make it to the Rio Olympics but missed selection in the gold medal-winning squad.

Soon after he met Australian Amellia Bonnici, reportedly on Instagram, and the pair started dating.

Hayne, then reviving his NRL career with the Gold Coast Titans, was shocked when the 25-year-old announced not long after they met that she was pregnant and expecting his child by the end of the year.

He moved her into his Gold Coast apartment and their daughter, Beliviah Ivy, was born in December 2016.

The following November, Hayne confirmed he would leave the Titans and return to Sydney on compassionate grounds, to be closer to his girlfriend and child, who were now living in Forster near family.

He reportedly took a hefty pay cut to return to his old club, Parramatta, hoping to get his head down and rebuild his reputation.

The Eels had been hopeful at least one other player could be picked up by another club to fit Hayne into next year's salary cap.

"As this is a police matter the club will be making no public comment in relation to these reports," a Parramatta spokeswoman said.

Hayne's representative Wayne Beavis opted not to comment when contacted by AAP after the allegations arose.

A two-time Dally M Medallist, Hayne is one of the biggest names in the NRL thanks largely to his magical run to help Parramatta to the 2009 grand final. He has played 11 Tests for Australia and 23 State of Origins for NSW and scored 121 tries in 214 NRL games.

He finished the 2018 season strongly but with cases to defend on two separate continents - and strict bail conditions related to his charges in Australia - his playing days may be over.

- with Emma Reynolds

News Corp Australia

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