MAJOR ROLE: Jarryd Hayne will be the Gold Coast Titans' chief playmaker against Wests Tigers tonight.
MAJOR ROLE: Jarryd Hayne will be the Gold Coast Titans' chief playmaker against Wests Tigers tonight. DAN PELED

Titans make Hayne the surprise link in attack

RUGBY LEAGUE: After surprising everyone, maybe even himself, Jarryd Hayne will be looking to build on his rugby league comeback after being moved into the playmaking No.6 role for the Gold Coast against the Tigers.

A lot was made of how seamlessly Hayne slipped back into rugby league mode after two years out of the game chasing NFL and Olympic dreams.

His preferred position is fullback but Titans coach Neil Henry is more than happy with the job Papua New Guinea international David Mead is doing there.

Hayne was probably expected to have his first two or three NRL games off the bench but he was so impressive first up last weekend in the 24-12 loss to the Warriors Henry has swung him into the halves against Jack Littlejohn and the dangerous Mitchell Moses, who performed well in the Tigers' 26-14 upset over the Cowboys last week.

Hayne has had another week to train with his new club and learn the plays and build on his fitness.

Apart from throwing an intercept pass, Hayne showed his time away from the game had not dulled his attacking brilliance and his time with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL had, if anything, helped his defence.

This will be a great clash but with an emotional Campbelltown crowd behind the Tigers, the Titans, even with Hayne, may find it tough to get the two points.

"Haney has had another week with us to gel and learn the play a bit more,” Titans hooker Nathan Friend said.

"We saw what he can do last weekend and I am looking forward to going out with him again and there's a little bit of confidence within the group.”

Friend said the players were wary of the Tigers.

"The Tigers are a very dangerous team across the park and have a pretty handy fullback (James Tedesco), so if we are a bit loose in the middle, he is going to carve us up,” he said.

"It won't be easy going to Campbelltown against the Tigers in form, but I am confident I have a good group of players around me.

"It's the time of year we have to kick it up a gear if we want to be in contention (for the finals).”

Friend has benefited from two weeks off and is keen to get back into the action.

He said Henry had done an incredible job with the team and recruiting the right players.

"Neil doesn't put too much pressure on us. He tells us what he wants and hopefully we go out and get the job done,” he said.



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