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Hayne makes Gold Coast a winner, despite loss

Rugby League

If you sign him, they will come.

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Gold Coast’s decision to sign Jarryd Hayne on a lucrative two-year deal already has the NRL club’s boardroom smiling.

After a week where the Titans enjoyed unparalleled media coverage the 28-year-old’s debut for the club drew a near-capacity crowd to their Robina base.

25,109 fans crammed into Cbus Super Stadium, the most at a Titans match since they hosted the Warriors in a 2010 qualifying final.

For a club that has been averaging a touch under 12,000 this season, it’s a dramatic increase.

Hayne showed glimpses of his undoubted talent in the 24-14 loss, ensuring many of those who came along curious to witness the dual Dally M Medallist are likely to return to see him as his improves and settles into the side.

It’s a potent mix for a club that is still up for sale as the NRL tries to relinquish it into private hands.

Chief executive Graham Annesley says Hayne is just the final piece of a puzzle which has taken 18 months of hard work from when the NRL took over the club after it entered voluntary administration last year.

“This week has just been the icing on the cake,” Annesley said.

“The team has performed outstandingly all year – way, way above anyone’s expectations, certainly any of the pundits’ expectations anyway.

“We have to get it right on and off the field. I think off the field we’ve made enormous progress and on the field Neil (Henry) and his coaching staff, all the support staff and the playing group have done their part as well.

“If we can all continue to do that, we’ll be in brand new premises next year, we’ll all be under one roof and we’ve got the potential to be very, very good on the field. It’s all heading in the right direction.”

Hayne has meanwhile escaped a charge from his return to rugby league for making contact with a referee.

Hayne appeared to walk into referee Gavin Badger in the loss to the Warriors, a week after St George Illawarra’s Tyson Frizell copped a one-match ban for a similar incident.

-AAP

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