“This is my house.”
With those words, Jarryd Hayne announced he was back.
The Hayne Plane took full flight at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday afternoon as he snapped a clutch field goal to seal a thrilling 19-18 NRL win over Wests Tigers.
On a day of high drama in Sydney’s southwest, which included James Tedesco suffering a suspected broken jaw, the cross-code superstar proved he was back to his brilliant best and ready to drag the Titans deep into September.
The loss lifted the Titans back into the top eight while the Tigers’ season looks over, with the loss compounded by Tedesco’s injury which required him to be taken to hospital.
The Tigers fought hard after Tedesco was assisted from the field, with David Nofoaluma crossing for two tries to even the scores up at 18-18 with 10 minutes remaining before Hayne broke the hearts of the 16,783 in attendance with eight seconds on the clock.
After Titans halfback Ash Taylor and Wests Tigers playmaker Mitchell Moses both missed two field goal attempts, Hayne, in just his second game back in rugby league, kicked the winner.
“Actually, I was going to throw it to (Hayne) on the second (attempt) but he said to let Ash have another go,” Titans co-captain Nathan Friend said.
“On the third one, he took it and I think his words were ‘this is my house’. It’s good to have that confidence.”
The result left the Tigers in danger of losing touch with the top eight but coach Jason Taylor refused to concede Tedesco’s injury spelt the end of their season.
The Tigers’ No.1 was taken from the field in the 59th minute after being collected high by Ryan James.
The Campbelltown crowd were baying for James’ blood when he hit Jack Littlejohn high, however Moses missed the attempt at penalty goal – one of several chances the home side had to seal the match.
They also had a right to feel dudded after Josh Aloiai was ruled to have lost the ball in his own half, however replays showed it was stripped by Josh Hoffman, and Anthony Don crossed the next set.
Taylor refused to blame the referees for their loss.
“I don’t know what you guys want me to say but it happens in every game,” Taylor said.
“You just have to get over that stuff.
“The referees are human; they’re going to make mistakes. You just have to get on with it and we did.
“We’ll learn a lot from that – good thing we don’t listen to you lot (the media) with all that stuff.”