Former NRL star turned San Francisco 49er Jarryd Hayne says a Pro Bowl in Sydney would be “huge” – but believes a pre-season NFL match would be even better.
Hayne was at an event in Sydney to promote the match between the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hawaii at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium on August 27, which will open the NCAA college football season.
And Sydney, which also hosted the Major League Baseball season opener almost two years ago, could again host another American sports event next year.
NFL officials are reportedly looking at a proposal to move the annual Pro Bowl game to Australia.
While hosting the all-star match would be a coup, the Pro Bowl has its issues.
A record number of players declined their invitation to this year’s event in Hawaii, while television ratings in the United States also dropped.
Hayne said there is a lack of intensity from the players, compared to a match between two proper NFL sides.
“That [the Pro Bowl in Sydney] would be huge,” Hayne said, before adding, “but I think a pre-season game would probably be a bit better.
“Now the Pro Bowl it’s a bit different because of [the potential of] injuries and whatnot.
“The boys obviously don’t play as hard as what it would be like in a pre-season game because injuries are a huge thing and nobody wants that.”
While the Pro Bowl has never been held outside the United States, Sydney’s Olympic Stadium did host a pre-season game between new NFL champions Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in 1999.
Hayne dismisses reports of return to NRL
Meanwhile, Hayne also hit back at reports that still link the former Parramatta Eel with a return to the NRL.
“Everyone wants to write articles and say I’m doing this and I’m doing that, but you know, I think if people listen to what I say, and respect what I say, then they’ll understand what I’m doing.
“For me I don’t need to come out and say how I feel or keep repeating myself. I said what I said and if people don’t want to respect it, or listen to it, then that’s their fault.
“You do the math. What am I doing now? I’m still doing the same thing I said I was doing 12 months ago – 12 months ago they said I was going there [the Sydney Roosters].
“So, like I said, people who just wanna make up things and obviously try and squeeze as much, I guess, of a story out of me as they can.
“I’m true to myself and what I want to do and nothing’s changed from 12 months ago.”