A league of their own: Switching between NFL and NRL

OLD-time fans of the rugby league code might remember the name Manfred Moore, who was a hit for the Newtown Jets back in 1977.

The former NFL running back played five games for the Jets, before picking up a head injury and going back to the US.

He remains the only NFL player to convert successfully to first-grade rugby league.

With all the talk about whether or not former Eels star Jarryd Hayne will succeed in the NFL, a top college football coach believes, like Moore back in the day, he has the opposite - a ready-made league player.

Stanford Cardinal offensive assistant Joe Ashfield, who visited Brisbane earlier this year to run a gridiron coaching clinic, is quite familiar with league and union.

He watched a lot of both codes while coaching New Zealand's national gridiron team in 2004.

At Stanford, he has had the pleasure of observing Ty Montgomery at wide receiver - a position Hayne wants to play - excel at top-level college football in the US.

Montgomery was the recipient of last season's "The Jet" award as the nation's return specialist of the year.

The 21-year-old also reminds Ashfield of former dual international and code hopper Wendell Sailor, while in his prime.

"I think Ty compares to some of the more physical wingers.

He's about the same size as Doug Howlett, who was playing for the All Blacks during my time in NZ, but plays very physically, like Wendell Sailor," Ashfield told APN.

"I witnessed him (Montgomery) running through three defenders on the way to the end zone this season.

"I also saw him hit a would-be tackler so hard last season that the tackler's helmet popped off, and Ty kept going into the end zone."

Like Hayne, Montgomery's speed is deceptive - he once ran 100 metres in 10.81 seconds, while in high school.

"Ty looks like he's moving so easily on the field that one doesn't realise just how fast and powerful he is, until he runs past two people or knocks them over," Ashfield said.

"He would make a fantastic rugby (league or union) player.

He's large for his position without sacrificing speed or agility.

"What makes him stand out is his vision and patience with the ball in hand."

Unfortunately for league and union fans though, Cardinal head coach David Shaw can't see his star player leaving the US.

Which means old-time rugby league fans, who still have visions of Moore's spectacular debut for Newtown, when he scored a try, will have to wait.

"Ty has great versatility but he won't be playing rugby. But no question about it, he has toughness and aggression and a lot of versatility from the back of the field," Shaw said.



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