Annesley surprised by Henry-Hayne fallout
Titans CEO Graham Annesley has conceded that he was "surprised" by the depth of the feud between coach Neil Henry and star fullback Jarryd Hayne that has come to a head following comments made by Hayne after last Saturday's loss to the Dragons.
On a dramatic Monday on the Gold Coast Henry and Hayne were called in to separate meetings with Annesley and Titans chair Rebecca Frizelle before an emergency board meeting was called to discuss the issue.
Board members Darryl Kelly and Trish Hogan joined Annesley and Frizelle at the club's Parkwood headquarters just after 2pm with Lynne Anderson, Tony Hickey and Professor Ted Pankhurst participating via phone hook-up.
Geoff Jones was the only board member not present and after the board was briefed on the content of the discussions with both Henry and Hayne and spent three hours deliberating it was decided to reconvene at a later date, Frizelle indicating her desire to see the matter resolved by next week.
Tensions between Henry and Hayne have been rising ever since the 29-year-old's work ethic was questioned in pre-season training but three consecutive losses have seen that spotlight turn into a blowtorch, the depth of the ill-feeling forcing Annesley and Frizelle to take immediate action.
Hayne said after the loss to the Dragons last Saturday that he would walk away if Henry no longer wanted him in his team, Annesley admitting that he didn't realise that the situation was as bad as it has become.
"What happened after the game last weekend did take us a little by surprise," Annesley said of Hayne's post-match comments.
"We weren't planning to meet this week, we weren't planning to interview Jarryd and Neil today but the focus that's been placed on it since the game meant that the board just couldn't ignore it.
"Consequently we had to start the investigation today, try and get to the bottom of it and it was very helpful in determining potentially a number of ways forward but we're not going to rush into it.
"This is a really, really complex issue and it's not an easy one to resolve. It's broader than what it might appear on the surface in relation to Jarryd and Neil and the board want to take their full amount of consideration to make any decision on what might happen going forward."
An ankle injury may prevent Hayne from lining up against his former club Parramatta on Thursday night and Annesley said it was unlikely that any decision would be made prior to the team taking the field.
With both Henry and Hayne contracted next season any termination would require a financial compensation of some description and Annesley said the issues go beyond simply the relationship between coach and player.
"There are things that we have talked about today which go beyond that issue and they're the issues that the board want to feel comfortable about before they make their final decision," said Annesley.
"Both people are contracted to the club next year so you don't have to be Einstein to work out the possible options but the board's not going to rush into any one of those options without taking the full time to consider it properly."
Added Frizelle: "Given the extra time we will make the right decision but we do need the time to do that.
"We will make the right decision on behalf of the club and in the best interests of the club because the club is bigger than any one individual."