Ryan James expects Gold Coast will see a far more-mature Jarryd Hayne in 2017 following the birth of his first baby.
Hayne celebrated the arrival of his daughter in December, and James said he and Titans teammates had already seen a difference in Hayne ahead of his first full season back in the NRL since returning from the NFL.
“Jarryd has changed over the last couple of months and it’s been great for him,” James said.
“It’s definitely matured him a little bit.
“When I had my kid, I realised not everything is about footy and I think, when you’re not thinking about footy 24-7, you seem to get in that mindset a little bit better.
Unhampered by his usual representative duties, Hayne has also enjoyed a rare full NRL pre-season ahead of 2017.
James said the affects of it were already clear in his performance, as the 28-year-old aimed to return to the kind of football that helped him claim the Dally M Medal while at Parramatta in 2009 and 2013.
“He’s definitely shown those qualities,” James said.
“The way he has been carrying himself lately, it’s been great for Jarryd to get this pre-season and start working on himself.”
Hayne on Tuesday was linked to the Titans’ co-captaincy alongside chief candidate James, despite recently refusing to rule out a cross-code switch to French rugby at the end of his contract.
But James said he would welcome being paired with Hayne in the leadership if coach Neil Henry was to decide in their favour.
“Obviously I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own because I’m not an 80-minute player,” James said.
“Haynesy has got the leadership quality – with Jarryd Hayne being Jarryd Hayne – and with the things he does, he is great to have in that role.”