Gold Coast Titans have taken another step towards creating a happy environment for superstar Jarryd Hayne, reuniting their marquee player with the men that brought the best out of him at Parramatta.
Fresh off re-signing halfback Ash Taylor, new coach Garth Brennan continues to make a huge impression in his first week in charge of the club.
He has appointed strength and conditioning gurus Hayden Knowles and Craig Catterick, who each worked closely with Hayne during his best years at Parramatta.
But it's Hayne’s relationship with Knowles that will be of greater significance given he is one of very few people Hayne has allowed into his inner circle.
The Roosters trainer flew with Hayne to America when he set off on his quest to play in the NFL, and they have been close friends for over a decade.
While Brennan insists the acquisition of Knowles and Catterick, who is in camp with the Kangaroos at the World Cup, had nothing to do with Hayne, he is well aware of the advantages of having the pair on board working with the much-maligned fullback.
"Jarryd is not the reason I signed them, it's just a bonus," Brennan told NRL.com.
"I think Jarryd has a lot of respect for Hayden. In 2009 when Jarryd got the Dally M one of the first people he thanked was Hayden Knowles. Jarryd likes to keep his personal life to himself and the fact he gets along with and trusts Hayden puts us on the front foot because he has that relationship already.
"When I was in line for the Newcastle job a few years ago, I told Hayden that I wanted him on board. That didn’t pan out but I said one day I would be ringing him with a job. I did that and he said ‘you’re a man of your word’. And I’ve worked with Cat for years at Penrith so he was always going to be part of my staff. It’s just a bonus that Jarryd gets to reunite with them."
Brennan has been in contact with Hayne, texting him to wish him luck in the World Cup. The new Gold Coast coach said he didn’t want Hayne to worry about his role at the Titans until he completed his commitments with Fiji.
"I texted him and wished him luck in his World Cup campaign," Brennan said.
"I don't want to bother him. He's with Fiji at the moment and I know how much it means to him. I just said when you finish give me a call and we can catch up for a chat. I don’t need to be all over him. I want him to do his best for his country."
The Titans' decision to appoint Brennan as Neil Henry's successor was pivotal in Taylor re-signing until the end of 2021.
"I was always confident that he’d re-sign," Brennan said.
"It shows a bit of faith in where the club is headed. At the end of the day he was on contract for next year. There was no rush to sign anything. He could have quite easily tested the market. There was no guarantee or security when I got the job that Ash was going to stay.
"I've known Ash for over 18 months. I just think he knows what makes me tick. I get to know players away from the field. I care about my players and worry about them off the field. He picks up on that and what person I am and coach I am. He felt he could improve and be a better player under me so hopefully we can head down this path together."
This article first appeared on NRL.com