Exclusive: 'It was unbelievable' - Jarryd Hayne opens up about spiritual journey and baptism in Jerusalem

NRL and Fiji star Jarryd Hayne has opened up for the first time about his spiritual journey to Jerusalem.

Hayne, 29, was in Jerusalem last week, visiting the city in the hopes of strengthening his Christian faith.

"I guess I always wanted to go to Jerusalem, it's something that I guess reading the Bible and all the Bible characters, the stories – it was something that was inevitable really," Hayne said.

"It kind of surprised me that not many people had gone from Australia and when I very first started going to church I was kind of curious as to why not? If that is what we believe in and where it started."

Hayne told 1 NEWS in Sydney today that visiting the Sea of Galilee, Mount of Olives and exploring Jerusalem city was emotionally moving.

Jarryd Hayne being baptised in the Jordan River while visiting Jerusalem.
Jarryd Hayne being baptised in the Jordan River while visiting Jerusalem. Source: Supplied

"It was unbelievable, you can't really explain it."

The star back, who rejoined the Eels after leaving the Gold Coast Titans recently, admitted he was worried about travelling to the city after the uproar that followed US President Donald Trump's announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"I was pretty scared going down first night but I had a good tour guide with me," he said.

"Walking down the first day (through Jerusalem) seeing how people hold themselves, not letting fear overcome them. That's something that overwhelmed me, these people don't fear death."

Hayne said that he was astounded by the way people prayed and moved around the city.

"That was something that really stuck out to me. They know their calling – they are not looking for something to live for but they are looking for something to die for and to them God is worth dying for.

"You see people at the Western wall praying and even the Muslims at their precinct as well, there was no fear of repercussions or whatsoever and that's something that really stood out on the trip."

Hayne was also baptised for a second time while in the city.

"It was awesome, it was in the Jordan River the same river that Jesus got baptised in and that was really special.

"It will definitely be something that I will look back on in years to come and say how special it was to go over there and do that."

The NRL star recently travelled to Jerusalem to strengthen his faith. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics



'I have not sexted anyone' declares Sam Burgess amid Rabbitohs scandal

South Sydney star Sam Burgess has hired celebrity lawyer Chris Murphy to pursue defamation actions after being cleared of any wrongdoing over the lewd photo scandal.

The Rabbitohs said no player had broken club or NRL rules after a complaint was made by a woman alleging Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to her via Facebook in May.

Not long after the NRL club released their statement, Burgess revealed on Twitter that he is now exploring legal avenues over the saga.

"I have not sexted anyone. I fully cooperated with the inquiry as I said I would. I have engaged lawyer Chris Murphy to pursue my remedies and he has retained defamation lawyers," he said.

"I have given a full account to the Inquiry and answered every questioned asked. It's now in Mr Murphy's hands. The next move is up to him. I have nothing more to say at this stage."

The woman, who was believed to be on holiday in South Africa, was this week interviewed by NRL integrity unit investigator Karyn Murphy but declined to be quizzed by a five-person panel.

"Based on a thorough review of the available evidence before it, the panel was not satisfied that any South Sydney player engaged in any actionable misconduct resulting in a breach of their NRL playing contract, the NRL rules or the SSFC code of conduct," the club said in a statement.

A spokesman for the NRL said based on the information available, the NRL was satisfied with the position the panel has reached with respect to the allegations against players.

"If any additional information emerges it will be considered," the spokesman said.

It was widely reported it was Burgess' social media account that was used to communicate with the woman following a win over the Warriors in Auckland.

Two players were believed to have exposed themselves to the woman, who complained to the club via an anonymous email over a period of three months between May and August.

The matter rocked the league last week when News Corp Australia published the images, and named Burgess as the owner of the social media account.

It overshadowed the Rabbitohs' semi-final win over St George Illawarra, and has since dominated headlines ahead of their grand final qualifier against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.

An emotional Burgess also fronted the media this week, where he thanked his wife and family for their support and said he was "happy for the truth to come out".

The panel comprised ARL Commissioner Lea Drake, club chairman Nick Pappas, club staffer Emily Grant, chief executive Blake Solly, and Murphy.

Murphy has previously represented former NRL Canterbury star Hazem El Masri when charges of domestic charges against him were dropped in 2016.

He is also currently representing Australian actor John Jarratt, who has been charged with raping a woman over 40 years ago.

Sam Burgess takes on Sonny Bill Williams
Roosters v Rabbitohs. NRL rugby league match. Allianz Stadium SFS, Sydney Australia. Thursday 7 March 2013. Photo: Paul Seiser/PHOTOSPORT
Sam Burgess takes on Sonny Bill Williams. Source: Photosport


Topics

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Tonga coach backing Andrew Fifita for Test match captaincy

Andrew Fifita has emerged as a shock Tonga captaincy contender after skipper Sika Manu was ruled out of next month's historic rugby league Test against Australia with a knee injury.

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf is reeling after Manu suffered the season-ending injury in Hull FC's UK Super League last-round loss to St Helens just days after naming his initial 29-strong Test squad.

"That's devastating for the team. He's an integral part of the side, we will certainly miss him," Woolf told AAP.

"Now we have to look at someone filling that void."

North Queensland's Jason Taumalolo and Canterbury livewire Will Hopoate appeared favourites as fill-in skippers for Tonga's first clash against Australia after sharing the captaincy in Manu's absence in June's Pacific Test.

But Woolf believed Fifita had shown this year he could step up and lead the Mate Ma'a in the October 20 clash in Auckland.

"We have emerging leaders in the group like Jason Taumalolo and Will Hopoate but there are a number of guys who have real leadership potential like Andrew Fifita," Woolf said.

"He has certainly shown some leadership at the Sharks this year but it will come down to who we think is best suited."

Fifita has filled in as Cronulla skipper this year but appeared an unlikely Tonga captaincy choice after last month's post-try blow-up at the Sharks coach's box and a recent foul-mouthed podcast appearance.

However, Woolf said Fifita had become a spiritual leader for Tonga after inspiring others with his surprise 2017 World Cup switch from the Kangaroos to the Mate Ma'a.

Taumalolo followed his lead, switching from New Zealand, before Tonga made a dream run to the Cup semi-finals.

Woolf said it was inspiring for the team that Fifita and Taumalolo had committed to Tonga "for the long haul".

"They have made a massive impact, that is obvious to see," he said.

"It speaks volumes of those blokes as people the way they have taken a punt and made a sacrifice, and also the way people have wanted to be involved because of them.

"They are committed to Tonga and set for the long haul.

"Any success we have they can be proud of the contribution they have made."

Scott Sorensen - nephew of Kiwi greats Dane and Kurt Sorensen - is Tonga's latest convert after the Cronulla forward was named in the extended squad.

Woolf will name his final squad next month before taking Tonga on a 10-day camp.

Tonga's Andrew Fifita and Tevita Pangai Junior celebrate Rugby League World Cup win over the Kiwis at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. Kiwis v Tonga, Rugby League World Cup, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand. Saturday, 11 November, 2017. Copyright photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz
Tonga's Andrew Fifita and Tevita Pangai Junior celebrate Rugby League World Cup win over the Kiwis at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. Source: Photosport


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Sam Burgess cleared of wrongdoing in Rabbitohs sexting scandal

South Sydney star Sam Burgess has been cleared of any wrongdoing over the lewd photo scandal after the NRL club completed its investigations.

The club said no player had broken club or NRL rules after a complaint was made by a woman alleging Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to her on Facebook in May.

The woman was interviewed by NRL integrity unit investigator Karyn Murphy but declined to be quizzed by a five-person panel set up by the club last Friday.

"Based on a thorough review of the available evidence before it, the panel was not satisfied that any South Sydney player engaged in any actionable misconduct resulting in a breach of their NRL playing contract, the NRL rules or the SSFC code of conduct," the club said in a statement.

A spokesman for the NRL said that, based on the information available, the NRL was satisfied with the position the panel has reached with respect to the allegations against players.

"If any additional information emerges it will be considered," the spokesman said.

It was widely reported that it was Burgess' social media account that was used to communicate with the woman.

Two players were believed to have exposed themselves to the woman, who complained to the club via an anonymous email over a period of three months between May and August.

The matter rocked the league last week when News Corp Australia published the images, and named Burgess as the owner of the social media account.

The incident overshadowed the Rabbitohs' semi-final win over St George Illawarra, and dominated headlines ahead of Saturday's grand final qualifier against the Sydney Roosters.

An emotional Burgess also fronted the media this week, where he thanked his wife and family for their support and said he was "happy for the truth to come out".

The panel included ARL Commissioner Lea Drake, club chairman Nick Pappas, club staffer Emily Grant, chief executive Blake Solly, and Murphy.

Sam Burgess of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Source: Photosport


Topics


RTS 'in for a chance' to pick up Dally M award - Cameron Smith

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's status as a contender for this season's Dally M Medal has again been confirmed, this time by his fellow NRL players.

With the medal to be awarded on September 26, bookmakers on both sides of the Tasman have Tuivasa-Sheck as the favourite for his first Dally M, having taken out the winger of the year award in 2013, and fullback of the year in 2015.

In a question and answer session with several of the NRL's biggest stars, Tuivasa-Sheck's name was hot on the lips of some of the game's greats.

"I think he's in for a chance," said Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith.

"Last I heard, Roger's the favourite," echoed Roosters star Boyd Cordner.

Warriors teammate Tohu Harris also threw his support behind his skipper.

"You've gotta back Roger. He's had an outstanding year, hopefully he can get over the line with it."

Tuivasa-Sheck, along with Rabbitohs hooker Damian Cook, Sharks star Valentine Holmes and Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga are all among the favourites to take home this year's Dally M Medal.

Rugby league's biggest prize could be heading the Warriors star's way. Source: NRL


Topics