Post-Hayne Titans’ Tongan inspiration

Konrad Hurrell reacts after Tonga’s World Cup win over Lebanon in November. Picture: Getty Images
Konrad Hurrell reacts after Tonga’s World Cup win over Lebanon in November. Picture: Getty Images

JARRYD Hayne is gone and the Titans are back to being the barely-rated underdogs heading into the new NRL season.

Cult hero Konrad Hurrell says the Gold Coast club has all the makings of the hungry, play for your mate type culture that drove his beloved Tonga to within a whisker of a shock World Cup grand final appearance late last year.

It's the sort of vibe that many fans felt underpinned the club's resurgence in 2016 until being eroded by Hayne's arrival that August.

In came a megastar doubling as a walking headline and out, it seemed, went the sheer grit that had won them the respect of the entire competition.

Hurrell in no way pointed the finger at Hayne but declared his belief that the pieces are in place for a prosperous season.

"I like it about the team this year that there is no one or two players that the boys are relying on," he said.

"Everyone has got to bring their little one per cent into the team and no one is relying on other players to do the job.

"I guess that's what got us through to the semis for the Tongan squad: Everyone buy in, everyone do everything together on and off the field.

"The Titans are starting it already, in pre-season they have been doing everything together … it's been good."

Hurrell takes a run against the Wests Tigers last year. Picture: Getty Images
Hurrell takes a run against the Wests Tigers last year. Picture: Getty Images

After being handed a later than usual off-season break due to his World Cup involvement, Hurrell rejoined the Gold Coast squad on Friday and immediately picked up calf tightness.

The barnstorming centre was placed on light duties yesterday but said there was no concern over the injury, despite him also suffering a recurrence of a hamstring tear while in Tongan colours.

With Parkwood putting on another round of scorching temperatures, Hurrell hopes the playing group's short-term pain can be long-term gain with daytime slots for four of their first six games.

"It's so hot," Hurrell exclaimed.

"I guess it's good for us so we can get used to the heat. When other teams come here, we're already used to this heat so it's good to train in this weather and I guess it checks your mental toughness as well to train under this heat."

He added recruits such as Brenko Lee will put him and the entire backline on notice to keep improving.



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