Jarryd Hayne has the Power of One
- By Phil Rothfield
- From: The Daily Telegraph
- February 18, 2010 12:00AM
PARRAMATTA’S superstar fullback Jarryd Hayne has emerged as the most popular and influential rugby league player of the modern era.
He’s a bigger drawcard than Andrew Johns, Mal Meninga, Greg Inglis, Brad Fittler or any other champion who has played NRL footy.
The Daily Telegraph today reveals the 10 most powerful figures in rugby league - and the Eels star comes in at No. 2 behind CEO David Gallop because of his incredible influence over young fans.
Former Eels legend Peter Wynn, who runs a sports merchandise store in Parramatta, describes him as the most popular athlete since he opened his business in 1987.
“During the finals last year, with 90 per cent of the jerseys I sold, the customers wanted No. 1 and Hayne’s name on the back,” Wynn said.
1 David Gallop
TOOK over as chief executive in 2002 at a time when the game and its administration was still fractured and divided by a Super League hangover.
He has overseen rugby league’s rise to its greatest heights with record television audiences and all-time high crowds. He’s like a federal politician in that he somehow manages to juggle having News Limited executives in one ear and ARL heavies in the other - and still keep both owners happy. While he reports to two NRL boards, Gallop is still the most powerful man in the game because he is responsible for day-to-day decisions.
Directors on both boards have the confidence in him to make decisions without needing their sign-off. He has the support of all clubs, best indicated by the fact he has been offered the job for another four years under an independent commission.
2 Jarryd Hayne
IF THE Parramatta Eels superstar wears yellow boots, every child in Sydney wants a pair. Rebel, Peter Wynn Score and all major sports stores are struggling to cope with the demand for yellow Nike boots since the champion fullback wore them in the All-Stars game on the Gold Coast last weekend.
They’re all changing over from the red boots he wore last year.
Former Eels legend Wynn has been in the sports store business for
23 years and says he’s never seen anything like it. “During the finals last year, with 90 per cent of the jerseys I sold, the customers wanted No. 1 and Hayne’s name on the back,” Wynn said. “I can’t recall anyone capturing the imagination of young fans like this guy. Maybe Andrew Johns when he was playing Origin, but that would be it.”
3 Peter Macourt
MACOURT is News Limited’s chief operating officer and minister for rugby league. Chief executive and chairman John Hartigan last year gave him the role of devising the company’s exit strategy from the game. He currently sits on the NRL’s most powerful board and is renowned for his tough but fair negotiating skills. Alongside lawyer Ian Phillip, Macourt came up with the blueprint for the proposed independent commission in consultation with Michael Searle and Nick Politis.
NRL boss David Gallop rarely makes an important decision without bouncing it off Macourt. He fields phone calls every day from senior club officials and has a tremendously powerful contact base through his roles on the board of Foxtel and as chairman of Sky Television in New Zealand.
4 Nick Politis
THE veteran Sydney car dealer and Roosters supremo is said to have a personal wealth of over $200 million.
He is unquestionably the most influential club official in the three decades that I’ve covered the game - and that’s saying something when you consider the clout of wily old club secretaries like Ken Arthurson, Peter Moore, Terry Parker and Charlie Gibson. He sits on the NRL’s partnership committee, representing the ARL stakeholders, and has been one of the key figures in negotiations to set up the independent commission. He owns a luxury holiday unit on the Gold Coast and offers the keys and free accommodation to the bigger player agents and even stars like Benji Marshall and Channel 9’s Phil Gould for their vacations.
5 Katie Page
THE Harvey Norman boss is a huge asset for the game - and not only because of the sponsorship money her company pours into State of Origin and other levels of rugby league.Page is renowned as one of the shrewdest marketing and business operators in the country. She has been on the board of the NRL for several years, providing creative ideas and modern management in a realm where the crusty blazer brigade once dominated. And she’s a woman - at a time when the game is trying to broaden its female audience.
6 Ray Hadley
THIS guy has made one of the greatest comebacks of all time.
A decade ago he was offside with the most powerful figures in the game for taking such an aggressive stance during Super League war.
James Packer sacked him from Channel 9 and at the same time 2UE, where he was working, lost the NRL broadcast rights.
These days Hadley works seven days a week during the football season and tops the ratings in every time slot. He knows all the ins and outs of the NRL through his friendship and daily phone calls to David Gallop’s deputy Graham Annesley. His opinions are so valued that Nine uses him on The Today Show while Channel 7 has offered him seriously big dollars to jump ship and appear on Sunrise and Matty Johns’ new show.
7 David Gyngell
THE man who determines the NRL playing schedule each weekend to best suit his Channel 9 television ratings. It was Gyngell’s call to play two Friday night games - one for his NSW audience and the other for Queensland viewers - which cost fans more Sunday afternoon kickoffs.
Gyngell has a powerful contact list in both the ARL and News Limited camps and remains best friends with James Packer. He was also personally responsible for securing Steggles as major sponsor for the Sydney Roosters at a time when the club couldn’t find anyone else because of their year from hell in 2009.
8 Russell Crowe
REPRESENTS the new breed of private owners in the game that include Peter Holmes a Court, Eric Watson, Scott Penn and Max Delmege. Is hugely respected by David Gallop for the passion and glamour he has brought to the game.
Last year, when Crowe wanted a meeting on his Coffs Harbour farm with Gallop to talk over some football issues, the NRL boss couldn’t get on a charter plane quick enough.
Crowe has also been personally responsible for South Sydney’s resurgence and the signing of big-name stars Roy Asotasi, Craig Wing and Sam Burgess.
The players used to find him a pain in the proverbial because he was interfering at training but he has since backed off and won them over.
9 Michael Searle
IS CREDITED by the 16 clubs as the man most responsible for getting the game as close as it is to an independent commission. He made only one mistake along the way - approaching John Howard to be the inaugural chairman before discovering neither News Limited nor the ARL wanted the former PM on the commission, let alone as chairman. A Labor government in Canberra was never going to support the NRL if an old Lib was at the helm.
Still, the Gold Coast chief executive is seen by many as a long-term replacement for Gallop. Has done a wonderful job setting up the Titans and was also the driving force behind the All Stars game.
10 Wayne Bennett
CARRIES influence in the game because of the respect he has from senior players not only at the Dragons but across all clubs.
Other coaches are often frustrated by his failure to turn up for conferences and meet media commitments, but no one is prepared to challenge him publicly. Has a direct line to Gallop, and an indication of his influence was in evidence at a bar after the All Stars match when the game’s leading suits hovered around him in discussion.
He often rings Gallop to discuss issues such as player misbehaviour and the future structure of the game.
The most powerful Queenslander in the history of the game, who is also starting to realise what needs to be done in Sydney.
Yeah i just read this inthe DT site, what a crock. They are basing JH on being able to shift yellow boots, fantastic bet parents love this.
What about kids and players attempting sidesteps, flickpasses to name just two? Not being shot at in nightclubs and winning a Grand Final and a World Cup…
Benji Marshall made the DT look like a bunch of imbeciles when back in 2008, they tried to bait him into a fight in a pub and it back fired on them, that is why to this day you never hear a good word about Marshall from that paper.
On Jarryd Hayne, while in interviews he always comes across as exciting as a wash cloth, he also seems to be getting dumber by the day. In Alpha magazine he’s trying to come across as some loyalist to the game whose only in it for the love….before lamenting the lack of an unlimited salary cap, and this occurs about 4 times in the piece.
I’m not normally one to [censored] about player salaries, but this guy is one more than 10 times the average Australian wage, granted in his position he comes under about 1000 times more scrutiny than the avergae person, but trying to come off as a loyalist when you demanded 500k a season is a bit ridiculous.
I think what you people dont realise is that its the same of type people now trying to bag out Jarryd Hayne when hes on a high that try to bag out Benji when he was on a high. There both incredible talents in our game who do nothing wrong off the feild and stay out of trouble and yet everyone tries to tear them down.