Hayne credits Fiji Sevens for drop goal
Time practising field goals while in the Fiji Sevens set-up shortly before returning to the NRL prepped Titans recruit Jarryd Hayne to nail the match-winning one-pointer against the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Saturday.
The shot – eight seconds from full -ime to separate an 18-all deadlock – couldn't have been hit much sweeter and Hayne said it was down to his kicking coach during his stint in Sevens.
"As soon as I got the ball I went back into my mode when I was at the Fiji Sevens of kicking field goals and that was just to take your time and really get the drop right, that's probably the biggest thing," Hayne told reporters after the 19-18 win.
"That just goes down to my kicking coach in Jeremy Manning who's in Dubai. That's something he really taught us. If you look at the replay you see me take an eternity to get the ball down but when you hit it that good that's why."
Hayne raised his arms in triumph after the play and bellowed 'this is my house' – in reference to the fact he grew up just down the road in neighbouring Minto. The match was his first ever at his local ground and he said the chance to play there was "very special".
"You couldn't have written the script any better. I'm just blessed to kick the field goal on the ground I grew up near," Hayne said.
"I definitely didn't plan [the celebration]. During the game [I was] just giving a bit of lip to Mitch [Moses] and 'Woodsy' (Aaron Woods) just mucking around and having fun out there. As soon as I kicked it I looked at them and said 'I know you boys are the Tigers and this is your home ground but this is my house'.
"Getting out there before the warm up and seeing the fans – I grew up here, everyone knows I grew up here, I've never played here before in an NRL game so just to see the fans and to be back and see the community of Campbelltown get out here."
Hayne played the full 80 minutes at five-eighth after being eased back in via the bench then playing centre last week but, despite a couple of rusty moments, you'd never have guessed he'd been out of the game for two years as he pulled off some great defensive reads to go with some quality passing and kicking that helped him force one drop out and also set up a try for Anthony Don with a towering bomb.
"I think I'm going all right, I'm really just trying to play my part and fit into the system which is something I feel like I'm doing. It's just taking it game by game and go out there and obviously try to win games and have fun," he said.
"The guys have been great, they've really welcomed me with open arms and I think the Gold Coast community has really embraced me and that's been real special just to keep me calm and keep me upbeat and just play footy."
He added coach Neil Henry had implemented a finals-type playing structure that was "five-eighth friendly" and made his transition into the team easier.
"It's one of those things that Neil's game plans are grinding game plans, they're finals game plans. It's just taking your opportunities, that's the biggest thing. That just comes with time and a bit more experience out there with the guys and getting into a rhythm," he said.
"The biggest thing about being a finals team is your defence and that's definitely something we've got at the moment. It's just our attack, our execution is something we need to be better at and taking our opportunities when they present themselves."