Hayne Says Centre Shift Only Temporary
He produced a starring role after a late shift to left centre but Titans superstar Jarryd Hayne is expecting to be back in his preferred position of fullback in the weeks to come.
In order to accommodate the return of Kane Elgey at five-eighth and given the excellent form of Tyrone Roberts to start the season Hayne was asked to move out wide a week after being named man of the match at fullback in his first game back from injury.
The positional switch did nothing to stop Hayne asserting his influence on the game, scoring his side's only try in a sluggish first half from the Titans and scoring a second eight minutes into the second half that put the home side on course to their 38-8 win over the Knights on Saturday, equalling the third-biggest winning margin in the club's 10-year history.
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry said moving Hayne allowed him the best use of his personnel but the 29-year-old is already plotting his return to the No.1 jersey, preparing to embark on a "mini pre-season" during the Representative Round to accelerate his match fitness ready for a Round 10 assignment against the Storm.
Just two weeks back from the ankle injury he suffered in Round 2, Hayne has ruled himself out of contention for the Fiji team to play Tonga in Campbelltown next weekend, preferring instead to work with famed sprint coach Roger Fabri and build the base to get through the remainder of the season including a potential Origin recall.
"This week will be good for me, to almost have a mini pre-season and getting the legs right," Hayne said post-game.
"Recovery is the most important thing Monday and Tuesday but I'll probably ramp it up on Wednesday. We've got a couple of days off but definitely be doing a bit of work with my guys down in Sydney.
"I've still only done four or five sessions in a couple of months so I've been very limited to what I can do. I'm just glad to punch out two 80-minute games.
"That week will probably be a week where we can get some really good work and I can get some kilometres in my legs to get me ready for the rest of the season."
Once he is back to full fitness, Hayne is adamant that the greatest contribution he can make to the Titans is at fullback where he has played 121 of his 186 NRL games to date.
"Yeah definitely. Hopefully later on shift back to fullback," Hayne said when asked whether he expected to return to the No.1 jersey.
"I've played it the most of my career but as you saw today I can play anywhere and I enjoy playing anywhere.
"When you play the game as long as me you understand what's going on and you can fit yourself in on the other side of the field or read the play and not just sit on the edge.
"I was changing a lot with 'T' (Tyrone Roberts) last week and we were meant to do that again today but we kind of got in that rhythm and we probably attacked their left edge a bit more and gave us both that time to shift over there. That's how I scored my second try."
Having missed Gold Coast's 16-12 win over the Sharks last week Kane Elgey was originally named to start from the bench against the Knights but was reunited with Ash Taylor in a halves combination that played the first seven games of the season together.
Elgey's try three minutes into the second half gave the Titans the lead for the first time in the game and Henry said the shift of Hayne was necessary to fit all his playmakers into the starting 13.
"We just needed to find a spot for Kane really and Tyrone's been good at the back," Henry said.
"It works out OK with Jarryd being there because he hasn't really got the kilometres into his legs at the moment and so that just put him out on that edge.
"Tyrone has been playing good footy so we needed to fit everyone in and [Hayne] was happy to move out there and did a good job. Plus he was working against Dane Gagai who is a handy player and I think he did a pretty good defending him as well.
"He has played a lot of footy in the centres and on the wing and represented in those positions as well. It was best fit for the team given our injuries with outside backs with John Olive, Dale Copley and William Zillman and those guys out."
This article first appeared on NRL.com