Taylor plots to bring best out in Hayne
Titans halfback Ashley Taylor believes it is his responsibility to bring the best out in Jarryd Hayne with the Blues star set to be named at fullback for just the fourth time this season for the clash against the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It will be just over 10 months on Saturday since Hayne ran out for the Titans for the first time and a near capacity crowd was on hand to welcome him for his club debut against the Warriors.
With celebrations planned to mark the club's 10-year anniversary including the naming of the Team of the Decade, free admission for children and the strong support the Warriors enjoy in south-east Queensland another bumper crowd is expected to flock to Robina to see Hayne back in the No.1 jersey.
After starting the year at fullback Hayne has spent the past month playing at left centre for both his club and state but two ineffectual performances for the Titans in their past two games will likely see him revert to his preferred position this week.
It will be the first time this year that the Titans will start a game with a spine of Hayne, Kane Elgey, Taylor and Nathan Peats, a combination that needs to become permanent in the second half of the season for the Titans to make a push for finals football.
Taylor conceded that the constant chopping and changing has made it difficult to produce a cohesive team performance – particularly in defence – but says he must take control of the team for the betterment of those around him.
"I need to get involved more. That's what I want to do," Taylor said.
“I want to take control of the game. That’s what I worked on and thought about over the break.
"It's very hard to work on combinations when we're changing the team every week,
"It's something you've got to adapt to and get used to.
"It's a matter of knowing strengths and weaknesses of players.
"There might be a situation on the field where someone is good under the high ball or someone is not so good and wants to kick it on the ground.
"Different people like running different lines.
"You've got to get used to everyone's game. That's what I've been working on."
After much deliberation Hayne last week agreed to take up the option in his favour to stay on at the Titans until at least the end of the 2018 season and Taylor has no doubt Gold Coast fans have not yet seen the best of Jarryd Hayne.
"He was a massive signing for us," said Taylor.
"He's been a massive player. I'm sure there is a lot more to see than what we've seen already.
"This Origin period is going to do him a world of good and he'll bring back a world of confidence."
Being reinstated at fullback formed part of the discussions around Hayne staying on for a third season at the Titans next year, the 29-year-old admitting that he sought such assurances from coach Neil Henry before recommitting to the club.
"Playing in the centres, I wanted to know about the future and where the coach seen me and that's the discussions we were having," Hayne said.
"That was obviously a key in me re-signing because that's where I see myself and getting their thoughts as well, where they see the future.
"That's the position that I definitely like and feel most comfortable at."
The Titans have won just one of six games with Hayne in the No.1 jersey but the two-time Dally M Medal winner says that the team has shown what they are capable of when everyone is fit and on the paddock together.
"You've seen how good we can play when we do get things rolling and for us it's just about being consistent and being injury-free too," he said.
"We've had a heck of a lot of injuries and that hasn't helped get the cohesion because different players have been coming in and out.
"Definitely when we're all on the field we look great."
Immediately after the 20-8 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday night Henry gave every indication that their main strike weapon would be deployed in a more active role against a Warriors team that has lost three of their past four games.
"He didn't get his hands on the ball too much [against the Cowboys]," Henry conceded. "We just didn't have much possession to get to that side.
"He needs to get back there but it was straight after Origin. With his legs anyway it suited us to keep him on that left edge for this game and Tyrone [Roberts] at the back but I think he'll be back there pretty quickly."