Jarryd Hayne of the Gold Coast Titans.
Jarryd Hayne of the Gold Coast Titans. DAN PELED

Hayne Plane set to get plenty of miles

JARRYD Hayne is set to triple his workload in 2017 but Titans coach Neil Henry has no doubt his superstar fullback can return to his best after an impressive start to the pre-season.

After playing eight games in the NFL in 2015, five rugby sevens matches for Fiji and six NRL games this year, Hayne could be required to play more than 30 games in 2017.

The Hayne Plane has spent plenty of time in the hangar but his future flight path is nothing short of hectic.

Named this week in the World All Stars team, he is already an ambassador for the Auckland Nines - where he will also play in February - he's due to play a trial for the Titans against the Warriors in New Zealand, before 24 NRL games, probably all three Origin games for NSW and then the World Cup for the Kangaroos or Fiji.

Henry said Hayne had knuckled down since returning to training and was confident the club's multi-million-dollar pin-up star could thrive in his first full season in rugby league in three years.

He said the recovery techniques and solid pre-season would give the 28-year-old former Eel every chance to not only stay on the field, but recapture the form that led him to sharing the Dally M Medal with Johnathan Thurston in 2014.

Hayne has slimmed down to cope with the extra workload required of the modern-day fullback.

"We know how Jarryd can play, the question will be getting back to that standard, or the challenge for him is being even better than he was before on a consistent basis,” Henry told The Saturday Telegraph.

"Plenty of players have improved at the back end of their careers. 'JT' (Johnathan Thurston) has been sensational, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, these guys are past 30 but at the top of their games.

"Darren Lockyer went out on top of his game. Some guys can mature, get wiser and play smarter. Hopefully Jarryd is one of them and has his best footy ahead of him.

"He has high standards. He has aspirations to play on the big stage, wants to play Origin and is hungry to play in that environment.''

Henry said Hayne's lack of match fitness was the only reason he spent time in the halves last season.

"He'll be fullback, there's no need for him to be in the halves,” said Henry, who has Ash Taylor, Kane Elgey and Tyrone Roberts vying for the scrumbase pairing.

Henry said player burnout could not be ignored but he as long as Hayne emerged unscathed from the Nines, he would punch out about 40 minutes against the Indigenous All Stars on February 10.

The following weekend Hayne will spend time on the park in the Titans' final pre-season hit-out against the Warriors.

Henry could understand the Rugby League Players Association pushing for longer holidays but also felt the need for a balance with representative commitments.

"The primary role for the players is to play footy for their clubs who pay their wages,” Henry said.

NSW coach Laurie Daley indicated last week he would accommodate Hayne and fellow gun fullbacks Matt Moylan and James Tedesco if they started the season well.

If Hayne fails to make the Australian side for the World Cup, eligibility rules will allow him to immediately switch to Fiji.


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