No bad blood between Brennan and Hayne
As Jarryd Hayne prepares to line up against the Gold Coast for the first time since his public break-up with the club, Titans coach Garth Brennan insists he has nothing but respect for him.
Hayne walked out on the Titans at the end of last year not long after Brennan was handed control of the club following the demise of former coach Neil Henry.
But Brennan insists he holds no ill-feeling towards Hayne despite leaving his $1.2 million deal behind to return to the Eels.
"I've got the upmost respect for Jarryd," Brennan told NRL.com.
"He could have made it difficult and soaked up the money and stayed here. But he sacrificed a lot to go back. For someone to walk away from a lot of money, and it's well documented how much money he walked away from, to follow his heart deserves to be respected.
"I fully respected Jarryd Hayne as a footballer but his heart wasn't here. For a person to make that type of sacrifice … he gets criticised a lot but it shows the mark of his character."
Brennan communicated with Hayne via text and phone calls during the World Cup and never discussed his plans face-to-face.
When Hayne decided to leave the Titans at the end of last year, Brennan was one of the first people he notified and the coach insists he hasn't felt any resentment towards the club's former marquee man.
"He rang me when he made the decision," Brennan said.
"He indicated his heart was in Parramatta and I wished him all the best. He's starting to play some good footy. I genuinely hope he does really well.
"There's no ill-feeling towards him here. I haven't picked up on it. Ash (Taylor) and Jarryd are still pretty close and speak regularly. There's no resentment from the group."
Brennan hired a couple of staff members (Hayden Knowles and Craig Catterick) in the preseason, leading to assumptions they were brought in to appease Hayne. But Brennan emphatically denies making any appointments to satisfy Hayne.
"That was all false," Brennan said.
"Regardless of whether Jarryd was here or not I would have made those appointments. When I went for the Newcastle job I told Hayden that I wanted him with me. It's got nothing to do with Jarryd being here. Nothing was put in place for Jarryd. The fact that Hayden had worked with him in the past was just a bonus."