Australia is going to hell in a handbasket.

Last night, our prime minister Tony Abbott was knifed by the urbane sophisticate Malcolm Turnbull. This will be the fifth prime minister in five years for Australia, a safe, prosperous nation girt by sea and rich in natural resources.

Last month, our Australian cricket team was humiliated in the Ashes. We went there cocksure and ready to pump the English 5-0, only to return decimated and leaderless. Now, we’re sending a bunch of unknowns off to Bangladesh, where success is no longer assured.

Australia is at risk of becoming a running joke. Politically we are a shambles. Our cricket team – once something to be proud of – is weak. What is there to be proud of, any more?

Australia needed a singular saviour to restore our national pride. We’ve now got it, in the form of an NFL punt returner. When he makes a break, we make a break. When he steps a bloke, we step a bloke. When he pancakes a bloke, we pancake a bloke. Australia is relevant again. We’re making the headlines for the right reasons.

Sure, it’s a cultural cringe, to evaluate our self-worth by how we are perceived in the eyes of others, but really, how else we know we exist? We need to let the world know that we are capable of dominating other countries’ national sports. This will never change, and nor should it.

Jarryd Hayne is just the tonic in these troubled times.

By Dave Edwards