Gold Coast’s transformation from NRL basket case to finals contender has earned praise from an unlikely source – Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett.
The mentor of the Titans’ arch-rivals says Wednesday’s signing of superstar Jarryd Hayne on a two-year deal is just the latest piece of impressive work by coach Neil Henry.
Hayne is the third mid-season pick-up by the Titans along with another ex-Parramatta star in Nathan Peats and wrecking-ball centre Konrad Hurrell.
With young halfback Ash Taylor also starring, the new-look Titans have surged from wooden spoon favourites in pre-season to genuine finals contenders after Monday’s thrilling 18-all draw with table-topping Cronulla.
It’s a rise that hasn’t escaped the attention of the legendary Broncos coach.
“I think they’re doing a really good job down there right now the Titans,” Bennett said.
“They’re playing with a lot of spirit. They’ve been wonderful the way they’re playing, it’s been really good.”
Hayne will train with his new teammates for the first time on Thursday in a bid to prove his fitness before a likely debut in Sunday’s crucial clash with the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium.
With the Titans sitting just a point above the eighth-placed Warriors on the competition ladder, the game is a huge one in both club’s finals aspirations.
Titans coach Neil Henry firmly believes Hayne can make an instant impression.
“It will give a massive boost,” Henry told AAP.
“The players recognise talent. Konrad Hurrell’s made an impact here and the players like playing with him. Nathan Peats is the same.
“It’s competition – healthy competition – and it’s proven footballers, it can only improve your performance.”