Titans coach ready to give Hayne chance to prove worth
TITANS coach Garth Brennan has issued Jarryd Hayne an NRL lifeline, revealing The Hayne Plane will be offered a contract extension if he can return to top form in 2018.
Hayne will enter next season as the NRL's most high-profile free agent on the back of a tumultuous year with the Gold Coast.
The 29-year-old was embroiled in a feud with former coach Neil Henry last season as the Titans slumped to second-last on the ladder.
Hayne will chew up $1.2 million of the Gold Coast's salary cap next year and was widely expected to be shown the door given the controversy and lack of performance he has brought to the Titans.
But Brennan is prepared to give Hayne another shot if the two-time Dally M Medal winner fires.
"He's still got plenty of good footy ahead of him and is relatively young,” he said.
"At the back end of 2016, everyone on the Gold Coast was saying how good Jarryd Hayne was. He was the best thing the Titans ever did. He put bums on seats and they had record crowds.
"The Australian culture loves winners. I've got no doubt if Jarryd comes out next year and plays anywhere near his potential they will be loving Jarryd Hayne again very quickly.
"If that's the case, he's playing good football and Jarryd wants to stay on the Gold Coast, then I'd love to keep him as long as he wants to be here.”
Hayne hit the training paddock at Brisbane Grammar School yesterday with his Fiji Bati teammates in preparation for their World Cup opener against the USA in Townsville on Saturday.
Hayne declined an interview request after the session but teammate Ashton Sims said he expected to see the 2008 Fiji representative at his best after being overlooked by the Kangaroos.
"There's no doubt on his day he is one of the best players in the world,” he said.
"I've got a couple of years on Jarryd but I still look at him as one, a good friend, and two, a superstar you want to be involved with.
"He has been one of the best influences in this team so far. He doesn't say too much but when he does it means something. It hits you in your soul.
"His attitude and positivity is rubbing off on everyone else. In 2008 he was unstoppable.”
Brennan is assembling a new-look football department to support him in his first NRL head coaching role.
Henry's long-time assistant coach Terry Matterson has left the Titans, however Craig Hodges will stay on as Brennan's sole assistant.
He has lured high performance staff Hayden Knowles and Craig Catterick, who have previously worked with Hayne, to replace Matt Ford, Sean Edwards and Adam Paulo.
Brennan said Hayne could dominate the NRL again in the right environment.
"He's an exceptional talent, there's no doubt about that,” he said.
"I watched Jarryd last season and saw a player that didn't look like he was enjoying playing his football. Whether that was on-field or off-field, I don't know because I wasn't part of it.
"I want to get to know Jarryd away from football. I want him to know what I'm like away from footy so we can build that trust between the two of us.”
The Titans are also on the hunt for a new recruitment manager following the departure of Dave Hamilton.