Jarryd Hayne: I'm all about the team
He chased – and achieved – individual dreams many thought were impossible but Titans fullback Jarryd Hayne insists that he is now all about the team.
After a quiet start to his season against the Roosters – the highlight of which was a timely try, his first in the NRL since Round 26, 2014 – Hayne has become the subject of criticism with revelations he was fined in the pre-season for missing a training session.
Murmurs about Hayne's attitude at training were circling prior to Christmas with the two-time Dally M Medal winner further restricted for three weeks in February after picking up a knee injury on the opening day of the Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
Prior to last week's clash with the Roosters Hayne and William Zillman interchanged between fullback and wing at training and with a limited preparation the Titans' star signing shifted out wide a number of times in the second half to catch his breath.
Hayne took to Twitter to defend himself late on Sunday night and talked to NRL.com about his desire to make those around him better players and achieve the ultimate in team success; a premiership.
"Personally it's probably not how good I can go this year but how good I can make the players around me," Hayne told NRL.com.
"That's probably the key thing that's really driving me.
"To have such great halves at my disposal and have such talent on the team, for me it's trying to get the best out of them and help them with my experience and what I've been through.
"Being that older player and having that leadership role, that's probably the biggest thing for me."
Senior Titans players were left to decide Hayne's role in the leadership team during the pre-season but after leading the team at the Auckland Nines the former Eels skipper was overlooked in favour of co-captains Ryan James and Kevin Proctor.
Whatever he does Hayne draws attention but half Ashley Taylor said the playing group has moved on and has no concerns that it will prove to be a distraction in the coming weeks.
"Whatever has been said to him, it's happened and we've just got to move on from it," Taylor said.
"When it gets out to media it just blows up like it has. That's all internal for us and for his actions the leadership group did come up with a consequence and that's just what he had to suffer with.
"The boys are happy with it. They've given him his consequence for what he's done so we're all on board."
Few players have captivated the rugby league imagination like Hayne did with the Eels in 2009 but that remains the sole time he has qualified for the Telstra Premiership's showpiece game in his 10 seasons in the game.
A premiership win is all that has eluded him and with the Titans' success so reliant on his input the 29-year-old says he will do everything in his powers to make that dream a reality also.
"You get a bit older and you start to really realise how hard it is to get and how hard you've got to work," Hayne said of an NRL title.
"That's something that definitely is missing and something that everyone is obviously focused on at this time of the year.
"For me, it's getting the little things right and working together."