Titans feeding off Hayne's confidence
It was a statement that few players are confident enough to make but Jarryd Hayne's declaration at Campbelltown Sports Ground following his match-winning field goal against the Wests Tigers has injected further belief into Titans teammates.
With arms outstretched as the ball sailed over the crossbar to clinch a season-saving 19-18 win, Hayne yelled "This is my house!" as Gold Coast teammates surged from all corners of the field to celebrate with him.
For a team that has preferred to build their season far away from the glare of the spotlight, the addition of Hayne has put them very much in uncharted territory but with a growing belief that they can achieve something special.
A veteran of 101 NRL games across six seasons at the Knights, back-rower Zeb Taia is preparing to face his former team for the first time in Newcastle and said Hayne's confident nature is rubbing off on the entire squad.
"With that first week it was a bit of a distraction but last week we handled it pretty well," Taia said of the interest surrounding Hayne's NRL return.
"He's still going to get the same stuff week in and week out, a lot of fanfare, a lot of people wanting to do interviews with him but his confidence is definitely rubbing off on us and I think the boys are starting to feed off it.
"The confidence that he shows in us as a team as well so it's pretty good having him there now and when Ty (Tyrone Roberts) comes back it could be even better."
Taia was a member of the Parramatta team on the day Hayne made his NRL debut in 2006 at 18 years of age and now 10 years on wasn't surprised that it was the Titans' latest recruit that sealed the two competition points against the Tigers.
"Big-time players do big-time plays like that. He took his time doing it and hit it sweet and then everything after that felt mad," said Taia, one of five Titans to have appeared in every game for the club this season.
"Especially with someone like that, to finish it off, you know it couldn't have been anyone else. He's the only one that could probably do it.
"Ash [Taylor] did it for us against the Rabbitohs in Perth and had a crack at it two times. There was an opportunity where [Hayne] could have had a crack but he brushed it off to Ash and then when his time came he slotted it over.
"I've known 'Haynesy' for a while now and he's been like that since day one.
"The boys giving him a bit of slack about the Hayne Plane and him being the 'player watch' with all the Fox Sports crew and stuff but he goes about his business and handles it well.
"He cops it sweet from us, that's just him."
Needing to win against a Knights team on a 15-game losing run to keep their finals momentum moving forward, Taia believes the addition of Hayne merely builds on a winning culture that has been a work in progress since pre-season.
"I saw it most during the start of the season, the competitive nature in all of us," said Taia.
"We all want to work hard for each other and stuff like that can win you comps. That's just a bonus, adding Haynesy to the picture.
"Obviously the confidence has grown higher within the team but we still need to work hard, compete hard and do the fundamentals of winning games really well."