Players to decide Hayne's leadership role
Titans teammates will be the ones to decide whether superstar signing Jarryd Hayne features in the club's leadership group amid concerns surrounding his approach to training prior to the Christmas break.
Former Eels teammate Nathan Hindmarsh joked upon Hayne's return to the NRL that the former 49er was one of the worst trainers he had ever seen in his time in the game and his transition from the power-based NFL to the endurance needed in the NRL has seen him struggling in the tough conditioning sessions.
A new father in mid-December, Hayne returned with the rest of the squad on Wednesday to be greeted by a two-hour torture test with coaching staff insistent that he is in decent shape and that his aerobic conditioning is on the improve.
Such is his status in the game and influence that he can have over 80 minutes of rugby league Hayne's buy-in is integral to the Titans building on their finals finish in 2016 and pushing towards the top four.
A former captain at Parramatta, Hayne would on the surface appear to be an obvious inclusion in the club's leadership group but NRL.com understands that he will first have to prove his commitment to his teammates before the senior players rubber stamp his place as a leader within the club.
Despite missing the entire 2016 season with a knee injury 22-year-old Kane Elgey is a member of the Titans leadership group and is confident Hayne will throw himself into the remainder of pre-season and start the year with a bang.
"He's improving. He obviously did different training over in America where it's more power related and he's come here where it's more cardio, especially in pre-season," Elgey told NRL.com.
"Everyone's pretty happy with him and come March when he's done a full pre-season hopefully he'll be back to where he was, or even better."
With Daniel Vidot likely to join a new-look roster that has added Hayne, Nathan Peats, Konrad Hurrell, Jarrod Wallace, Kevin Proctor and Dan Sarginson in the last 12 months, building on the spirit displayed by a team written off as wooden spoon certainties last year is the key ingredient to a successful season on the Gold Coast.
Former Eels teammate Peats is the one most likely to give Hayne a hard time but Elgey said that the two-time Dally M Player of the Year isn't afraid to give it back also.
"Neil [Henry, Titans coach] is pretty strong about our culture, he wants us all to be one and he's buying into that, which is good.
"There are a few of us but 'Peatsy' is probably the one that gets into him but in saying that he's doing well and Haynesy gets into us as well.
"We want that. We don't want people keeping it in their skin and not pulling blokes up. Everyone is pretty equal and the culture so far is good.
"He's achieved so much and everyone still looks up to him, even though he's been out of the game for two years.
"He comes and does skills and he's just a freak so he's still someone that everyone looks up to but in saying that we can't rely on Jarryd Hayne.
"It's got to be a team-related thing and that's what it is."