Titanic day as Gold Coast signs up Hayne

HUGE COUP: Titans CEO Graham Annesley presents Jarryd Hayne with a Titans jersey as coach Neil Henry looks on.
HUGE COUP: Titans CEO Graham Annesley presents Jarryd Hayne with a Titans jersey as coach Neil Henry looks on. DAN PELED

A PROFUSELY apologetic Jarryd Hayne could pull on the boots for his new NRL club the Gold Coast Titans against the Warriors on Sunday afternoon in a comeback that will go close to attracting a sell-out crowd at Cbus Super Stadium.

The 28-year-old, who has played 20 Origins for NSW and 12 Tests for Australia, made it clear at the Titans' biggest player announcement in its history that he was devastated not to be returning to rugby league with his troubled Parramatta - a club with massive off-field issues and without an operating board.

While he was extremely excited about the challenge ahead it was clear he was shattered the Eels, who are currently in administration after sacking its board, could not come up with an offer for him to return home.

The club's inability to get any offer on the table for its former superstar because of its off-field turmoil opened the door for the Titans to pull off one of the biggest signings in NRL history.

"Every week I would ask my manager 'what's Parra doing, where's their offer',” Hayne said.

"It's been pulling me apart but I could not wait any longer.”

Hayne's signing is certainly the biggest coup for a Queensland club since Brisbane secured the signature of the game's best player, Wally Lewis, in 1988.

While Lewis, who was the Queensland and Australian captain, signed with the Broncos for $120,000, Hayne's package is understood to be worth $2.5 million over two years.

Hayne made global headlines when he walked out on the NRL and Parramatta and cracked the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers last year.

He could make his comeback to rugby league against the Warriors on Sunday.

It's uncertain in what position Hayne would play, but if he does, it may be hard to get a ticket to the clash with the Warriors.

"He will have to be assessed but if he is right to go, he will play,” said his new coach Neil Henry.

"Right now he's available.”

Half of Haynes's packed press conference on the Gold Coast was devoted to him speaking of how much it hurt him not to be playing for the Eels.

He revealed he'd asked Parramatta captain and close mate Tim Mannah if an offer was coming and had spoken a number of times to coach Brad Arthur, delaying his decision as long as possible.

"This wasn't an easy decision for me to make. It's been an emotional time. I waited as long as I could for Parramatta to make me an offer,” said a candid Hayne, who has played all of his 179 previous NRL games with the Eels.

"I never thought I'd join another club. Everything happens for a reason. A part of me is sad because I'm not going back to the club that I grew up with and that I loved as a kid.

"But there's excitement as well joining the Titans and knowing what they are about and their future going forward.

"I'm honoured and blessed to be up here. It wasn't easy but at the end of the day I wanted to play footy and the way the board is at Parra and the things that have gone on there this year, we couldn't get anything done.

"It's sad and it hurts me as much as I know it hurts the fans down there.”

Henry said he respected Hayne for his honesty about his feelings.

"It's credit to Jarryd's character that he feels that away about Parramatta,” he added.

Normally clubs can't sign players after the June 30 transfer deadline but Hayne is not changing clubs as his last contract was with an NFL club.

Topics:  gold coast titans jarryd hayne neil henry parramatta eels

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