I remember clearly the phone call that I took just after 6pm on Tuesday 14 October, 2014 as my partner and I were out to dinner with the kids – “get back to your computer. We need you down here ASAP in the morning – Jarryd is going to the NFL. Media call at midday tomorrow.”
If you are not sports minded and don’t know to who I am referring, you won’t understand exactly how much my work had just became a crisis management issue of epic proportions. The job at hand was how to turn into a positive the fact that the National Rugby League, and my client the Parramatta Eels, were about to lose one of the most highly recognised and best players in the game – one Jarryd Hayne.
Jarryd Hayne had just won the Dally M Award for the second time in his career and to add to this he had just days before returned from a trip that the Eels (at my instigation) had organised to the U.S. to visit various NFL and other professional sporting bodies. Jarryd was unable to accompany the rest of the squad in November as he was “supposed” to play in the Australian squad.
As I drove to Eels headquarters that next morning before dawn I knew we could turn this to a positive and have the Club and Jarryd come out on top. My first order of business – I needed to speak to the man himself to attempt to wrap my head around his reasoning. My job that day was a very personal one: