Rogers: Titans can't let Hayne leave
Club legend Mat Rogers believes the Titans will become the "laughing stock" of the NRL if they allow superstar fullback Jarryd Hayne to walk out on the final year of his lucrative contract given the investment they have made to date.
Reports emerged on Thursday morning that Hayne was interested in returning to Sydney in order to be closer to his young daughter but in a statement made by the Titans they said no request for a release had been received and that Hayne would be expected at pre-season training once his World Cup commitments with Fiji come to a close.
Hayne has denied instructing his agent to negotiate a deal in Sydney.
"I have NOT instructed my manger (sic) to SPEAK to teams in Sydney", Hayne wrote on Twitter. He also told Nine News Townsville that if he wanted to move back to Sydney he would have done so at the start of the year rather than activating the one-year option to extend his stay on the Gold Coast.
It is less than three months since the Titans board brought both Hayne and former coach Neil Henry in to address an apparent falling out. Less than two weeks later Henry was relieved of his duties as head coach.
His replacement, Garth Brennan, wasn't announced as the club's new head coach until two weeks ago and the recruitment of Hayden Knowles and Craig Catterick as part of his support staff was seen as a positive in getting the best out of Hayne in 2018.
But the Titans could now also be facing the prospect of losing their most high-profile and expensive player as the rest of the squad prepares to assemble for pre-season which is why Rogers is adamant they must provide Hayne with the support he needs to complete his contractual obligations.
"They've got to try and salvage it. They've invested too much. They're all-in now," Rogers told NRL.com.
"Can you imagine [if Hayne is allowed to leave]? If it happens the Gold Coast Titans will be a laughing stock. Let's just hope that they work out whatever they need to work out.
"It's just been really poorly handled the way it all went down. Neil's been shown the door and now Jarryd walks. Well done Titans.
"Hopefully the new ownership and the new coaching staff can pull things together and sit down with him before it's too late."
Somewhat sympathetic to Hayne's situation if a potential move is being driven by a desire to be closer to his daughter, Rogers said fans had a right to feel aggrieved if Hayne left now but laid plenty of the blame on the club's administration.
"As a fan I'd be really, really upset," Rogers said if the mooted move eventuates.
"Their club has invested so much and we haven't really seen any return on that investment yet. You'd like to think this was the year you were going to get it and now there's talk that he might want to go.
"If it was a well-run club, the players were looked after and the administration was in place, coaching staff had a clear direction and they could support him through having a child down there by giving him a day off here and there then he wouldn't be going anywhere.
"I can see it from all sides. There would be plenty of frustrated fans but I can tell you if I was a player at that club I'd be a pretty frustrated player."
A key figure in the Titans' first four seasons in the NRL, Rogers remains a Gold Coast resident and says the local community have become tired of the controversies that have dogged the club in recent years.
"Other than when Jarryd signed, I can't remember one positive comment around the Gold Coast about the Gold Coast Titans. That's the reality of it," said Rogers, who played 77 of his 200 NRL games for the Titans.
"Everyone has still got their hands in the air saying, 'What the hell's going on with our club? Who owns it? Who runs it?' I get hammered every day by negativity.
"As a former player, I couldn't begrudge anyone wanting to get out of there. That's my personal opinion."