This Aussie NFL Star Just Solved A Problem All Big Blokes Will Understand
Jordan Mailata of the Philadelphia Eagles knows the pros and cons of being a huge unit only too well.
The Aussie was too big for our own NRL. That's right, though nearly impossible for defenders to tackle, the 203cm, 157kg giant was actually too big.
Now 21-years-old, big "Jordy" -- as he introduces himself -- played in the Under-20s NRL competition with the Rabbitohs. He was close to unstoppable in attack, and technically, he was a good defender too.
But in rugby league, you need to attack and defend in equal measure. Sustained, repeated efforts in defence were hard for a man so big. He just wasn't built for our game. But there's a game that he was perfect for: America's NFL.
Mailata was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles as 233rd overall pick in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
"I am made for NFL, 100 percent. I don’t ever see myself playing NRL again," Maialata told 10 daily.
While big Jordy didn't play an NFL game this season, he's been listening. Learning. Soaking up the NFL culture and playbook since the minute he got off the plane.
Well, maybe not quite the very first minute.
"As soon as I got off the plane, I went up the "Rocky Steps," Mailata told 10 daily. "I said to the Eagles, 'I need to go somewhere, I’ll be right back, guys!'"
Mailata is happy in Philly, and yes, he's been hanging out with fellow Aussie Ben Simmons, from the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, when he can.
Now back in Australia for a brief stint in the off-season, Mailata this week swapped the bright lights of the football stadium for the lights of a fashion shoot, as he modelled some gear for Johnny Bigg -- a plus-size fashion label for large fellas that starts at XL and goes all the way up to 9XL.
You might think there'd be loads of options for colossal clobber in the USA, given all the big blokes over there. But apparently not.
"Style is the problem," Jordan explained. "They have a lot of big man's clothes, but nothing stylish."
Mailata has now solved that problem in his partnership with the Aussie brand. Now to tackle some other big guy problems -- like plane seats, beds and the not insignificant problem of how to get that first NFL game.
Not that he's panicked about it. Mailata oozes a quiet confidence that his time will come. Indeed, he believes that Australians have an advantage in the NFL because of the way we're taught to play our sports instinctively.
While the NFL is a very structured game -- and Jordy has learned 120 moves from the playbook -- he knows that the players who make a real impact are the ones who can respond to the situation that unfolds on the field.
"You have to know what you’re doing, know all the techniques and stuff, remember all the set plays. But you have to be instinctive too," he said.
"You never know what your opponents are going to do. Not everything is written in the books, no matter how much structure there is. Reaction counts too."
Aussies saw glimpses of that with Jarryd Hayne a few years ago. More recently, Aussie punter Michael Dickson thrilled Seattle Mariners fans with his "insane, unique" style in the season just gone.
With luck, it won't be long before you can add the name of Jordan Mailata to that list. That is, assuming his teammates can understand his Aussie accent.
"I do have to slow down a bit when I speak over there," he laughed.