Former NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne has arrived at court ahead of his sexual assault trial at Newcastle District Court.
Hayne, 32, arrived with his girlfriend Amellia Bonnici as he walked past a pack of cameras wearing a dark blue suit.
Hayne’s relationship with Bonnici has been clouded in mystery since a reported agreement in 2018 to keep their private lives out of the headlines.
Bonnici and Hayne celebrated the birth of daughter Beliviah Ivy Hayne in December, 2016, and the 29-year-old has continued to support the former NFL star, despite the allegations made against him.
She is reported to have fallen pregnant just weeks into the start of their relationship.
Hayne appeared calm and headed straight for the courthouse door after being dropped off by a car in front of the building.
The ex-Parramatta Eels back has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault causing actual bodily harm.
The charges stem from an incident on the night of September 30, 2018, when he is alleged to have had sexual intercourse with a woman, 26, without her consent at a home near Newcastle.
WHO IS JARRYD HAYNE?
The son of Fijian NRL player Manoa Thompson, Hayne was raised by his mother, Jodie, in a housing commission in western Sydney.
A true rags-to-riches tale, Hayne followed in his absent father’s footsteps by making his NRL debut at age 18. He was a sensation for the Parramatta Eels, winning the Dally M Medal as the league’s best player at age 21 while leading his team to the 2009 grand final.
The once-in-a-generation fullback was also a star at State of Origin level and was named NSW’s best player as it ended an eight-year drought in 2014, the same year he won his second Dally M.
The following year he stunned the competition by announcing he’d pursue an NFL career in America, where he defied the odds by earning a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers after a sparkling pre-season and went on to appear in eight games as a running back and punt returner.
The successful transition in the US took Hayne’s fame to unprecedented heights but at age 27 it also marked the end of his time as an elite sports performer.
He left the NFL after the 49ers changed coaches and turned his hand to a third code, Rugby Sevens. After debuting for the world-beating Fijian side he failed to make the cut for the island nation’s Olympic squad, which went on to win a gold medal.
Hayne returned to the NRL in 2016 on the richest deal in the league’s history when the Gold Coast Titans paid him a reported $1.2 million a season. But he never recaptured his previous form and after forcing his way back to Parramatta he was out of contract at the end of the 2018 season when he was charged by police.