AFLG Expanding Down Under
- Updated: August 12, 2016
JARRYD Hayne, two years ago, disappeared to chase an American football dream. And now the game has followed him home.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Arena Football League — an explosive, Twenty20 version of the NFL — is planning to launch an Australian competition on the back of Hayne’s hyped stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
According to AFL global president David Niu, who played halfback for St George in the 1990s, his company plans to run a series of exhibition games next year with a national league set in place by 2018.
Better, Niu has already drawn up a hit list of rugby league stars who, set to retire within the next two years, would be rushed in to help headline teams comprising current American Arena stars and young Australian athletes.
Among those being considered are Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, Queensland Origin star Corey Parker and cult figures Willie Mason, Dave Taylor and Fuifui Moimoi.
“We’ll be looking for a whole host of crossover athletes,” Niu said. “Not only rugby league and union players, but athletes from a variety of sports who have the ability to transition quickly.
“It would be a fascinating hook for fans.
“And obviously the first name that comes to mind is Jarryd Hayne. But initially, I think this type of professional league is going to attract league players at the end of their careers.
“We’d also be importing some of the existing stars we have in the US. Then mix that in with the existing American football player base already operating in Australia.”
Certainly American football is back on the rise in Australia thanks largely to Hayne’s stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
Apart from promotional visits by players such as Reggie Bush, the 2016 NCAA College football season is also set for its season opener ANZ Stadium on August 27 — with the University of California squaring off against the University of Hawaii. It will be the first American football game on Australian soil in 17 years.
For more information, contact Lou Tilley at LTilley@Tilley.TV