Hayne 'didn't fit in' at Titans: Friend

Former Gold Coast captain Nathan Friend has questioned why controversial star Jarryd Hayne was ever signed by the Titans.

Following Thursday's announcement that Hayne and the Titans have parted ways, Gold Coast now have the salary cap space to target a quality fullback. Friend suggested the club look within to find a replacement.

Friend was the captain of the side in 2016 when the Titans stormed into the top eight prior to Hayne's arrival. 

The former Eel and San Francisco 49er arrived late in the season and the club reached the finals before bowing out on the opening weekend in a loss to Brisbane.

At the time, Friend made the point the Titans had succeeded without Hayne and that they were no one-man band.

Hayne scored eight tries in 23 games in his Gold Coast stint and never recaptured the form he had displayed before joining the 49ers in 2015. 

"When the decision was made to purchase him, we hoped that he came for the right reasons but one way or another, he didn't fit in," Friend told NRL.com.

"I don't know who made it, but [signing Hayne] wasn't a great decision to be honest.

"At the time the team was solid and going well. We had David Mead at fullback who was going quite well, and other fullbacks.

"If bringing him to the club was a PR decision I don't think it really transpired. He brought a lot of publicity early, but on the field the club as a whole has not gone as well as they would have imagined for the outlay they made.

"One guy is not going to win a premiership, but I think we lose sight of that sometimes. You need a squad of 30 players all working together to get you to where you need to go."

 

 
Friend, who was a foundation Gold Coast player and lined up in 121 games for the Titans, said there would be benefits from giving a current squad member a crack at fullback. 

When coach Garth Brennan was asked about what he may do if Hayne departed, he left the option open of delving into his 30-man squad or going to the market.

"In any organisation you want people who want to succeed and work for each other," Friend said.

"Hayne departing is going to give [an] opportunity for three or four younger blokes who may not have cemented themselves at fullback or even in first grade.

"It can only be a positive and I guess that breeds success when you have young guys showing enthusiasm and with a new coach on board.

"It will be interesting to see if they chase anyone. They will have the money but it doesn't mean you need to spend it. It is nice to have funds available for someone that you really need."

Friend has called on fans to be patient with Brennan and his team after the club finished 15th last year. Losing Hayne would not be an impediment to success, he insisted.

"No-one doubts the Coast's ability and the players that are there," Friend said.

"Jarryd was there but they played better without him. When he goes they might kick it up a gear. We'll just wait and see, but I won't lose sleep over the decision.

"I'm sure the new coach has a plan in place to turn the club around, but it won't happen in a year. When we started in 2007 it took us three years to make the semis. 

"To have success you need depth and that is the building phase the Coast needs to embark upon."