Jarryd Hayne’s struggles have been welcomed by his Gold Coast teammates who have tipped him to return serve against his critics in Friday’s NRL elimination final against Brisbane.
Hayne’s return to rugby league was one of the most hyped stories of the year, however he has not yet been able to recapture his brilliant best after 18 months out of the game spent playing in the NFL and Rugby Sevens.
The man himself and Titans coach Neil Henry had warned it would take Hayne time to warm to the task.
While a deciding field goal against Wests Tigers in round 23 demonstrated Hayne’s match-winning capabilities, the two-time Dally M medal winner has been quiet since.
The Titans are 3-2 with him in the team and he has been credited with just two try assists, run for over 100m twice and made one linebreak in his five games back.
Last weekend he had his quietest performance in a Titans jumper, making 57m while letting his frustrations show as he was marched 10m by the referees for backchat.
“I’m glad that he had the game that he did last week,” Titans co-captain Nathan Friend said.
“He’s more experienced than all of us at adversity and he will rise to the occasion. I think he likes the big stage and we’ve seen him rise under pressure before, I dare say he’ll do it again.”
While Hayne has been hailed as the Gold Coast’s x-factor, Friend said they had more strings to their bow than just their No.1.
“I don’t think it will come down to Jarryd’s brilliance,” Friend said.
“We’ve performed well all year as a team and one man’s not going to win us a semi.
“If we perform well and he performs well and scores a couple of tries, then it’d be great.”