After an ordinary season at fullback, new Gold Coast Titans coach Garth Brennan is considering switching Jarryd Hayne over to five-eighth permanently, in a move that could see Kane Elgy relegated to the bench.
Hayne had a season to forget and hadn’t proved his worth of $1.2m. However, Brennan believes that Hayne still has plenty to offer. The five-eight role isn’t all-new to Hayne, having played there during his time at Parramatta.
While many argue that Hayne’s Gold Coast stint was a failure, it seems as a positional switch could rejuvenate his career.
“The more Jarryd gets the ball in his hands, the better he’s going to be,” Brennan told Fairfax Media.
“Whether that’s at six or one, that’s something I’ll talk to Jarryd about.
“I take on board player’s input. I’m not a dictator who will say ‘This is where you’re going to play and I don’t care about your say, this is what we’re going to do’.
“That’s not how I operate. I’m flexible with the players I’ve got. Ash Taylor can roll the ball around his head, chip and chase out of the line and set tries up and go in and do it. It’s the same with Jarryd.
“It’s not all about Jarryd, it’s about what’s best for the team. Getting the ball in Jarryd’s hands as many times as we can will be good for the team. He’s a talent, there’s no doubt about that.”
Darren Lockyer established himself as a long-term fullback, however, a shock switch to the halves in 2004, saw him revolutionise rugby league. In the new era of rugby league, we’ve witnessed successful transitions from fullback to five-eighth on numerous occasions.
“[Hayne] is playing there for Fiji at the moment,” Brennan said. “In this day and age, the good fullbacks make good five-eighths.
“Moylan is an example of that. I’ve got no doubt Darius Boyd would make a good six if he switched to the five-eighth position.
“Jarryd can do it and obviously Locky did it better than anyone. Obviously, Jarryd fits that mould where he can do special things. If fullback or five-eighth is his spot, it’s all about whatever gets the best out of Jarryd for the team. That’s what I’ll look at.”
Hayne’s feud with Henry saw the former head coach shown the door. It sparked a debate whether Hayne is just too hard to manage. However, Brennan believes that he can get the best out of Hayne, for he shouldn’t be treated the same as every other player like Henry treated him.
“It’s a case of getting to know Jarryd, sitting down with him and finding out what makes him tick away from football,” Brennan said.
“That’s my primary concern as a coach – I care about players away from football more than I do on the field.
“If they’re happy and content off the field, they’ll play good footy for you. Everyone is an individual and that’s what I learnt in the police – everyone comes from different backgrounds, different culture, different upbringings.
“You can’t treat everyone the same, we’re all different. It’s important you treat people differently. Not when it comes to non-negotiables – anything that affects the Titans brand is non-negotiable.
“You get them prepared for a game or at training, people react differently. There are your fast-twitch beasts and your slow ones. You’ve got to work out how to get the best out of each individual. It’s like getting a front-rower to catch a ball above their head for kicks across to the corners – there’s no use doing that because you don’t need to be doing that.
“You identify your player, their talents and how to get the best out of them. Jarryd fits that criteria.”