Jarryd Hayne has found strength in his religious beliefs to stare down persecutors in the media.
As anticipation builds over his return to fullback for Gold Coast, Hayne hit back at his critics and vowed not to let them ruin his return to the NRL.
The code-hopping star admitted he’d been upset by certain articles critical of him not delivering on a promise to return to Parramatta and instead signing with the Titans.
“When you read the Bible and realise everyone hated Jesus, you’ve got to put that in perspective as well and realise how much He stood up and was still Him,” he said.
“For Him to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, you’ve got to pull your head in when you’re worrying about a piece of paper or an article. Little things like that get me on focus.”
Hayne, who has been scrutinised since making a dramatic 2014 move to the NFL in the US, is saddened by what he believes have been falsified stories reported by certain sections of the media.
“Today’s media is not about facts or truths anymore,” he said.
“It’s more leaning towards a story or how much they can really blow something up. It’s disappointing and it’s sad but it is what it is. As athletes, we do as much talking as we can on the field.”
The former San Francisco 49er said his American sojourn had taught him a lot about athletes using “haters” to drive them to success and, when he was younger, he may have responded in kind.
But Hayne claims to be a different man now.
“I read the Bible a lot and I read a lot of history and stuff like that. In America, it’s a huge things to let the haters motivate you. I don’t want that,” he said.
“I want to be motivated because I have an ability and I want to see that come to the fullest.”
Saturday’s match against Penrith will be the first time Hayne, who failed to finish last week’s match due to concussion, plays in the No.1 since returning to the game three weeks ago.
But he’s embracing the challenge.
“Playing at fullback, it’s a different kind of fitness,” he said.
“A bit more speed involved, but then there’s not as much consistent running as well, at five-eighth. But it’s a challenge in itself and something I’m looking forward to.”