LOS ANGELES: Australian Rules Football player Joel Wilkinson is hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Jarryd Hayne by switching sports to pursue an American football career with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday they had signed the 24-year-old former Golf Coast Suns player as a cornerback after inviting him to train with the squad recently.
Wilkinson is the latest in a line of Australians to have been signed by the Cardinals, who came within one game of reaching the Super Bowl this year after losing to Carolina in the National Football Conference championship game.
Another Australian, Ben Graham, punted for the Cardinals for four seasons while the franchise was also the first NFL team to draft an Australian player when they recruited defensive end Colin Scotts in 1987.
Scotts, who played in college at the University of Hawaii, played one season with the team.
Wilkinson’s arrival follows the attempts by former rugby league star Hayne to forge an NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers last season.
Hayne had a mixed first season with the 49ers after securing a place on the team’s 53-man roster, where he was used as a running back and special teams kick returner.
He was eventually demoted to the practice squad but has vowed to try return in 2016 to win back a place in the squad.