Titans ready for anything from unpredictable Hayne
Gold Coast Titans players say the biggest threat from their former teammate Jarryd Hayne this Saturday is the unpredictability of where he will strike on the field.
Hayne will come up against the Titans for the first time since last year's 22-game stint with the club that produced little joy.
The 30-year-old dual Dally M Medal winner has in the past month shown his best form since leaving the game to chase his NFL dream in 2014, and Titans players know he will be pumped up to make a point against them at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
And they don't believe he will stick to the left centre where he will be a threat to opposing man Brenko Lee, and Ash Taylor and Anthony Don inside and out. They expect him to come at them all over the park.
"He's looking in good shape and been getting more involved in games," said Taylor. "He's so versatile, so he's going to be a massive threat to us with him taking on his new roving role.
"We're expecting the best of him this week and we have to be ready for him.
"We have to tip the other side [of the field] when he's coming because he's been cropping up all over the place. We have to look up and see who is there in their shape."
Experienced fullback Michael Gordon said Hayne's penchant for bringing out something special on big occasions was a threat to the Titans. He has no doubt the fact Hayne was criticised for his form at the Gold Coast will be a motivating factor.
"He's a massive threat no matter how he's playing; he's one of those players who seems to be able to rise to any occasion and when he is challenged it brings out the best in him," Gordon said.
"The danger thing for us is if he crops up on the other side of the field it has to be high alert and the whole team has to have their heads up and eyes out for him, and plenty of other players too to be honest.
"We can't concentrate too much on Hayne because they have plenty of other strike, but we have to be aware where he is."
Taylor said the Titans' win against the Warriors on Sunday, and the higher involvement of halves partner AJ Brimson, had given him a confidence boost and may have reduced the defensive pressure thrown at him.
Taylor admitted he felt like he had a target on his back and was exposed to heavy attention while Brimson was finding his feet, but now feels his 19-year-old partner has become a genuine threat to opposition teams.
"AJ has become a massive threat on that left edge and we can fire him at any stage," Taylor said.
"It's good we have the versatility of having two kickers in the team rather than me being like I've got a big target on my back.
"I've been in the game three years now and people know what is coming. So I have to keep trying to change little bits so I can keep them guessing.
"But in saying that we have to stick to our team structures as well, which we hadn't been doing in the previous few weeks."
When asked about an NRL.com report of Eels playmaker Cory Norman meeting with coach Garth Brennan about joining the club, and the speculation Tyrone Roberts returning, Taylor diplomatically claimed either would be a big boost to the Titans.
Roberts has told his Super League club Warrington he is heading back to Australia and several NRL clubs are thought to be interested, and Taylor doesn't hide the fact he'd like to have his mentor back on the Coast. Meanwhile Norman has had informal talks with Brennan and knows the Eels would be happy to offload him.
"I would love to see Tyrone back in Australia … he's like a brother to me and I miss him sometimes, that banter," Taylor said.
"If he ends on the Gold Coast it would be massive for me and massive for the club but, if not, I'd just be happy for him to be home.
"Both are great players with similar aspects to their game and I'm mates with both of them. 'Normy' has taken on such a leadership role at the Eels although it hasn't been going so well this year, but he can break open a game.
"And Tyrone is very skillful and showed what he can do when he was here and is going great at Warrington."