Hayne getting head around NRL return
On Monday he was having lunch with good friend Tim Mannah and in sporting limbo but Titans superstar recruit Jarryd Hayne is confident his head will be in the game when he makes his shock NRL return at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
Hayne met his new teammates for the first time at Wednesday afternoon's video session, attended a gym session on Thursday morning and then hit the training field for the first time on Thursday afternoon, familiarising himself with a ground where he has scored six tries in four previous appearances.
Although the rugby league world awaits confirmation that he will definitely play against the Warriors this week the ticket-buying public have wasted little time securing their vantage points with more than $40,000 in ticket sales reported in the 24 hours after Hayne's signing announcement.
With five-eighth Tyrone Roberts in severe doubt with a knee injury Cameron Cullen is likely to come into the starting team and open up a place on the bench for Hayne to play his first game in the NRL in 701 days.
Since leaving Parramatta at the end of the 2014 season where he was the joint Dally M Medal winner, Hayne has had precious little actual game time either in the NFL or with the Fijian Rugby Sevens team and knows stepping in against an in-form Warriors team is a big ask.
"It's getting thrown in the deep end but that's a challenge in itself," Hayne told another enlarged media throng on Thursday.
"The next month is going to be a challenge physically and mentally. It does take a bit of time getting back into the swing of things but there's no other way to do it than just getting thrown in there and doing my best.
"The last couple of days have been a bit up and down but for me it's focusing on footy and worry about the game on Sunday. It's going to be tough, physically and mentally, me being out of the game for so long.
"I'm under no illusions that it's going to take time. Mentally I feel good and just watching tape last night on both teams and hopefully when I get out there the muscle memory takes over and I can get back to playing footy."
For a 28-year-old who has walked into two completely foreign sporting environments in the past 18 months reacquainting himself with rugby league and some former teammates should seem a breeze, but Hayne admitted that the emotion of signing for another NRL club other than the Eels had taken a toll.
"From an emotional standpoint I probably haven't been this emotional before a practice or leading up to a game but as a professional athlete I've just got to get my head right," Hayne said.
"As each hour passes and each day goes by I feel better and better and today will be good to get out there with the guys.
"As the days go by I'll feel a lot better and settle down and obviously focus on the game on Sunday.
"It's one of those things where I just want to get out there and get it done. It's more of a relief to get out there and get some minutes under my belt more than anything.
"I don't know if you can call it nerves or being nervous but part of me is really excited as well, to go out there and represent the Titans and play against the Warriors."
It is unclear yet how Titans coach Neil Henry will use Hayne on Sunday but the man himself has noticed some major differences in the way the game is played since he left as one of the game's best players 23 months ago.
"Just watching a lot of the young fullbacks over the past six months, a lot are in the line in their red zone from the 'A' position which is something a bit different," Hayne said.
"I really haven't defended like that before but it's a challenge in itself and something I'm excited about.
"Everybody has picked up their game a lot, definitely. Line speed is probably the biggest thing I've noticed. The top teams every year would always be good in defence and have real good 'D' and in this day and age it seems like everybody has got their strengths as well.
"Attack, you try to run good lines and good holes and find places that you can attack and exploit.
"I waited as long as I could and I've played 12 games in almost 18 months so I'm itching to go."