Bailey Hayward out to forge own mark at Bulldogs

Nyk Carnsew |

Bailey Hayward is blessed with sporting genes but wants to carve his own name with Canterbury.
Bailey Hayward is blessed with sporting genes but wants to carve his own name with Canterbury.

NRL rookie Bailey Hayward is not short on sporting pedigree.

His grandfather Paul Hayward played six seasons with the Newtown Jets in the 1970s, and sister Paige is a professional women’s footballer.

But now the 23-year-old wants to forge his own mark, as part of the next generation of young pups at Canterbury.

After impressing in his first pre-season last summer, Hayward was trusted with coming off the bench for his first two NRL games against Melbourne and Newcastle.

“It’s been surreal the past few weeks. Making my NRL debut is what you dream of as a kid,” Hayward said. 

“It’s obviously a lot quicker, a lot more physical. But I am just trying to bank as many reps as I can at training, so if I am training well it will resemble in my game.”

A natural half, a confident Hayward believes he has a future at either hooker or lock at the Bulldogs after transitioning into the roles this year.

“I have really enjoyed hooker and lock. I am curious to keep driving into that. Wherever I have to play I play,” Hayward said.

A Bulldogs junior who spent time in the Sydney Roosters system, Hayward was the star of Canterbury’s Jersey Flegg team two years ago.

That same year he played two games for Scotland in the World Cup, honouring his grandmother’s heritage and continuing a family trend of performing on the big stage. 

“He (grandfather Paul) passed sadly a bit more before my time,” said Hayward. 

“But any person I speak to from around that time says he was a tough gritty player. And that’s what I try and resemble as well.”

His sister Paige, a Central Coast forward in A-League Women, spent several years plying her trade in the US.

“She wanted to play league when she was younger, but dad wouldn’t let her,” Hayward said. 

“She’s always kicking goals. She played soccer in America for six or seven years, and plays in the A-League now and is doing very well.”