The case for keeping both Henry and Hayne

One of the first lessons you are taught as a new parent is that you can never give in.

If you cave the first time the apple of your eye kicks and screams until they get their way, you sign yourself up for years of tantrums, postulations and stubbornness.

As the Titans board wades through the alternative courses of action at their disposal given the dramatic turn of events surrounding coach Neil Henry and star fullback Jarryd Hayne this past week, the cheapest one might also represent the greatest show of strength.

If, as has been suggested, Henry's tenure is days away from concluding, no matter how much of a disciplinarian the new coach claims to be the players will know that their fate can change on a whim.

Another option is to rid the club of Hayne, an option that will come at a significant cost and leave the roster with a gaping hole that will necessitate at least 12 months of manipulation to rectify.

 


A third option is to start from scratch and allow both men to walk away with a golden handshake, a decision that comes with a price tag in excess of $1.5 million and puts a club already trying to improve its financial state in a perilous position.

But what if the board decided that the best option for the immediate future was to thrash out any issues underneath the surface, ask the coach and all the players to conduct themselves in a professional manner and simply get on with the job?

Sporting clubs are littered with stories of player coups and in-fighting but what if the Titans had the strength of conviction to buck the trend and insist that Henry and Hayne continue to work together in full knowledge that by midway through next year one will likely have shown their worth to the organisation?

Comparisons have been drawn to the protracted Robbie Farah saga at the Wests Tigers but in that instance Jason Taylor believed the team would work best without Farah in it; Henry knows that a motivated and invested Hayne brings match-winning capabilities to a team largely devoid of it.

"There are coaches and players who didn't have great relationships yet went on to win premierships together."

Former Titans football manager Scott Sattler.

Anyone who has spent time in a football club with Hayne knows that he is an unusual beast who doesn't respond to the same methods as most of his team-mates but it is up to Henry to re-evaluate his own philosophies and conjure a plan to get the best out of him as often as possible.

"It's not about me, it's not about him, it's about the Titans brand, it's about how we play football," Henry said on Tuesday. "It's about getting on with our jobs in a professional way and I'm sure we can do that."

Similarly, Hayne has to show that he is buying into what the club stands for rather than using it as his latest ATM machine from which to draw a sizeable wage.

The excitement of the Gold Coast community to Hayne's arrival has not been reciprocated in the 12 months that he has been there and youngsters who should idolise his talents are instead drawn to the magnetism of Konrad Hurrell and the spirit with which he plays.

Titans players have told NRL.com this week of the cliques that have formed and the splintering of the playing group, but sacking someone such as Neil Henry who has spent two years assembling a roster capable of beating both last year's grand finalists is not a productive way to unite them. Not in the long term anyway.

Henry recognised the need for "give and take" when asked about an ongoing relationship with Hayne and the club would in many ways be throwing good money after bad to not oversee some kind of mediation.

"As grown men you sit down and throw all the rubbish out onto the table," said former Titans football manager Scott Sattler, who played an integral role in assembling the club's first squad in 2007.

"You pick out all the pieces that they can work together and you throw all the other crap away and you start again from scratch.

"There are coaches and players who didn't have great relationships yet went on to win premierships together. Sport is littered with coaches and players that don't have a great relationship but if handled correctly it can be salvaged.

"Each man has just got to be willing to drop their guard, swallow their pride and sort it out like men.

"It can be salvaged, absolutely, you've just got to have the right people to salvage it."

If Hayne and Henry can mend whatever tension there is between them and put their best endeavours into making the Titans a success the rest of the players will have no choice but to get behind them and follow suit.

Every parent knows the pain of being told, 'I don't love you any more' by your offspring but also understanding that the action you have taken will help them to become better people in the long run.

If the Titans have the courage to back both Hayne and Henry they will not only save the club hundreds of thousands of dollars but show the players that they aren't afraid to say no when they need to.

And if there is some short-term pain in order to ensure that there is not a club full of spoilt brats then the organisation will gain far more respect than they would by simply purchasing a cheap toy to keep the peace.