Titans coach fumes over Hayne questions
A DISGRUNTLED Neil Henry has shot down repeated questions on Jarryd Hayne before cutting short his weekly Titans press conference as speculation flies thick and fast over the star signing's attitude.
Henry told the press that conjecture around a pre-season fine Hayne copped for missing a training session - a storyline inflamed by Hayne's own provocative social media posts - had been addressed in-house at the Gold Coast.
But the coach otherwise gave short shrift to inquiries on Hayne and his influence on the playing group.
After three-and-a-half minutes of team news, a post-mortem on the Titans' disappointing round-one loss to the Roosters and his young halves combo, Henry fielded the first question regarding Hayne's cryptic tweet that "loose lips sink ships” - a thinly veiled swipe at a perceived leak from the club.
"We've talked about it, it's old news,” Henry said, referencing Hayne's twitchy Twitter fingers.
"If you let it be a distraction it's a distraction.
"We've talked about it. Our performances need to speak for ourselves. We need to get down (to Newcastle - their round-two opponents) and have a good game.”
Henry also confirmed Hayne still had the "faith of the coaching staff” and could play a full 80 minutes at fullback against the Knights, having rotated with winger Will Zillman against the Roosters as he battled for match fitness.
When questions continued to come regarding Hayne, Henry grew increasingly abrupt.
Asked if he was disappointed in the attention Hayne's public comments had gained, Henry cut the question short, declaring: "No I'm not going to comment, I just said that.”
When another tact was tried by a different reporter, Henry was blunt, before walking away from the media conference mid-question.
"I'm not going to say anything on the Hayne stuff so 'not too much' is nothing,” Henry said.
"So that's the end of that conversation. I said we've addressed it and that's it. We're moving on from this week.”
On Monday Hayne's teammates offered the same response, that the matter had been dealt with internally, with young half Ash Taylor defending the superstar No.1.
"He gets around like he loves this club, so that's all we can take from it,” Taylor said.
But Henry's terse reaction is unlikely to ease pressure on Hayne, who joined the Titans on a marquee $2.4 million deal last September on his return from stints in the NFL and rugby sevens.
The 29-year-old's fitness and commitment to the Gold Coast cause have been analysed at length ever since.
On the park Hayne has battled a knee injury he picked up at the Auckland Nines, and was told at the start of the summer to drop weight after reporting for pre-season duty at 106kg.
Off it he has celebrated the birth of his first son but also endured controversy, with the NRL Integrity Unit warning him for consorting with criminals after a scandalous video emerged of him partying with a Hells Angels member.
Hayne has also put noses out of joint by revealing his interest in pursuing overseas rugby when his current Titans deal expires next year, while his leadership credentials and commitment copped a bashing from Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga last week.