Titans to take weight off Hayne
Titans coach Neil Henry says superstar fullback Jarryd Hayne will play up to five kilograms lighter than when he made his NRL return late last season and will be expected to win games for the club in 2017.
When he shared the Dally M Medal with Johnathan Thurston in 2014 whilst still at the Eels Hayne was listed at 100 kilograms and put on considerable bulk in the power-based training he experienced during his time with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
Concerns have already been raised with regards to Hayne's application to training prior to the Christmas break and after coming back heavy Henry told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast Hayne would need to shed further weight in order to cope with the demands placed on modern fullbacks.
"He's come back a bit heavy and we're working on that," Henry told Sky Sports Radio.
"He has dropped a couple of kilos so I think you'll find him four or five kilos [lighter] than what he played last season with no preparation. He'll strip lighter.
"He hasn't had a couple of pre-seasons but he's certainly enjoying the fact that he knows there's a physical challenge for him.
"The game has moved, he's aware of that, he's aware of the modern-day fullback covering more ground and playing a role in the line a little bit more than they used to and particularly the kicking games are improving.
"Sides run the ball a lot more now so you've really got to have a lot of back-field coverage. He's adapting to that.
"He's enjoying life on the Coast, as we know he's recently become a father so there's a change-up in his life but he's training really well."
With Kevin Proctor and Daniel Vidot the latest players to join the squad for pre-season training in the past week the Titans roster is resembling one capable of going deep in September.
Halves Ash Taylor and Kane Elgey are two of the most exciting prospects in the game, Jarrod Wallace adds some starch up front and Proctor will be competing for a place in the back row along with Chris McQueen, Zeb Taia and Agnatius Paasi.
But Hayne is the headliner that fans pay good money to watch win games for their team and Henry does not shy away from the fact that that is his primary role at the Titans.
The Hayne factor combined with the club qualifying for the finals for the first time in six years last season sees Titans membership numbers up 40 per cent on the same time last year with the club pushing to hit 12,000 members at some stage in 2017.
It's a far cry from the club that looked almost on its deathbed a couple of years ago but Henry knows it will amount to little if the results are not forthcoming on the field.
"The hype is good. It's good for the club," Henry said of the Hayne-mania that gripped the Gold Coast upon his arrival last August.
"He puts bums on seats, he's a tremendous player, he's dabbled in his NFL over there and really achieved something amazing by being able to get a start over there and be on a roster. That helps us here on the coast, competing with the Suns, and it also helps corporately. He and Konrad Hurrell are personalities that bring people along to watch footy.
"In that perspective and in a marketing sense it's great for us; on the talent side of it, that's where he's got to win games for us and play consistent footy.
"With his football knowledge he's very, very good with the younger players in talking about how he carries the ball and what he's looking for and what he's seeing which is great.
"I think he's going to have a good season."