Jarryd Hayne has revealed a stomach bug ripped through him on the eve of NSW’s State of Origin triumph.
NSW star Jarryd Hayne had diarrhoea and was vomiting just hours before he produced another match-defining performance to end Queensland’s State of Origin dynasty.
Hayne revealed he’s never felt more worried leading into a game, and not because of the magnitude of the occasion, but because he feared he may not be physically up to the challenge.
It was Hayne’s tackle on a rampaging Sam Thaiday in the 52nd minute, to dislodge the ball over the line, which effectively kept NSW in the contest and paved the way for Trent Hodkinson to score the match-winner with nine minutes on the clock.
But Hayne was feeling anything but a champion on the inside.
After a sleepless night spent at the toilet bowl, Hayne said it was a chance meeting with a friend in the lobby of the team hotel that got his mind back on the task at hand.
“He looked me straight in the eye and rattled off some great American players (who have overcome adversity) and pretty much just said to me don’t make an excuse. As soon as I heard that it really changed my mind set and I stopped feeling sorry for myself,” Hayne said.
“Last night I came down with a stomach bug and I was up spewing and diarrhoea and I haven’t gone into a game so worried.
“I barely slept last night. Barely slept today.
“I had nothing in me. I spewed my dinner up, shat my lunch out so I was starving.
“I pretty much felt awful all game.”
Hayne tried to force down a big breakfast on Wednesday morning and followed that up with some boiled rice, coconut and chicken for lunch – but could barely keep it down.
However, just hours later it was fittingly Hayne – the most capped player out of the current Blues line-up – who was the man to take the ball dead and officially put the Maroons’ record run to bed.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a long, long time. To end it like that and to give it to the fans … it’s so special to be able to celebrate with them and I guess seeing the boys so emotional it kind of hit,” he said.
“It’s so surreal at the moment.”
In game one Hayne was the difference between the two sides because of his work with the ball, but at ANZ Stadium it was his defence that got his side home.
Thaiday looked certain to score, in a breakthrough that would have pushed the Maroons out to a 10-point lead, but Hayne found something special to reach around and knock the ball loose.
“You just do all you can. You throw your body into it. You do anything you can,” he said.