NRL: Will the Hayne Plane land the Titans on the Finals
JARRARD POTTER: Hayne the attacking weapon Titans need for a grand final berth
ONLY a fool would proclaim a team in the top eight that boasts the talent of Jarryd Hayne are no hope of winning the grand final.
There are few players in the NRL who have the ability to single-handedly turn a game around in a single play. Jarryd Hayne is that kind of talent.
Memories of the incredible streak of brilliance that brought Parramatta to a grand final berth in 2009 are still bright, and personally I will never forget his moments of unparalleled genius in his last season of the NRL, where every time he had the ball in his hands he threatened to make something happen.
Watching Hayne's first match in Titans colours, it was clear that once the cobwebs have been blown off, he will be back to his potent best. Despite the one intercept pass he threw, the two-time Dally M winner's touches proved he hadn't lost his touch that makes him a superstar.
A genuine star is exactly what this Titans outfit needed to become genuine title contenders. They've recruited well during the season, picking up the talented Nathan Peats at hooker and devastating ballrunner Konrad Hurrell in the centres. They've got one of the hardest-hitting forwards in the competition in Ryan James, and a forward pack led by the experienced Greg Bird.
This is all without mentioning the surprise package of the season, rookie Ash Taylor playing in the halves. An off-season signing from the Broncos, Taylor has showed a maturity beyond his 20 years, and if he partners Hayne in the halves, he will become a force to be reckoned with.
The Titans were playing good football before Hayne arrived. That's what got them into the top eight to begin with, and got people talking about them. Now with Hayne on board, the side has a proven game-changer who will add the X-factor needed.
MATTHEW ELKERTON: Hayne Plane brings turbulence to Gold Coast skies
THE GOLD Coast Titans had been written off before the 2016 season even started.
With James Roberts waltzing up the motorway to the Broncos, and an acrobatic Daly Cherry-Evans pulling more backflips than a Chinese gymnastics team, the Titans were a worse chance than Rednav winning the Grafton Cup.
But like the Sally Taylor-trained $61 chance, the Titans had heart (and a halfback namesake called Ashley).
The Titans were once again the underdogs, and they relished the title, pulling out all the stops to topple Penrith Panthers, South Sydney Rabbitohs and then the unthinkable - they brought an end to the 15-match winning streak of the Cronulla Sharks.
After a mammoth 90 minutes of football, there was nothing to split the two teams, and Gold Coast officially announced itself as a premiership threat.
But they got there off their sheer will to prove the doubters wrong. Much like the South Grafton Rebels in Group 2, the Titans were playing for each other, for respect.
Not only that, but they acquired strong outcast talent in Nathan Peats and Konrad Hurrell midseason, who both had something to prove to teams that did not want them.
But then at 10pm on a Tuesday night, crammed into the kitchenette of a Gold Coast hotel room, Titans chief executive officer Graham Annesley brought it all crashing down.
By signing one of the biggest superstars in rugby league, if not world sport, Jarryd Hayne.
The Hayne plane has been out of the game for two years, but he has come back as fit as ever, bringing a throng of media and the eyes of the world.
And that is what will stop the Titans. Suddenly they aren't flying under the radar. Suddenly it is not about "the team".
No longer are they the Gold Coast Titans, but more Jarryd Hayne and the Gold Coast Twelve.