TITANS coach Neil Henry has hit out at reports his relationship with star fullback Jarryd Hayne has soured, calling speculation the pair do not get along a "beat-up".
Rumours of a rift between the pair were aired in the media this week but Henry denied their relationship was strained, saying the pair shared a beer after the Gold Coast's upset of the Sharks at Cronulla last week and "we're fine".
"It's a beat-up from before Christmas," Henry said, referring to a pre-season fine Hayne reportedly received after missing a training session.
"I don't know where (recent speculation) is coming from, we had a beer after the game.
"Again, it's a beat-up."
Former Maroons player Justin Hodges has been among Hayne's harshest critics this week, saying his "negative vibe" could have an effect on his teammates.
Hayne was seen admonishing teammates during the Sharks match - both when he did not get the ball and for their errors - even admitting in a post-match interview he had given two-try hero Vaha Pulu a "spray" at one stage.
But Henry said senior players demanding the ball as they tried to have an influence was "the nature of the game".
"They're talking about him on the field arguing with players," Henry said of Hayne's critics.
"The players that want the ball will call for the ball.
"You quite often see a half on one side putting his arms in the air and it goes the other way, that's just the nature of the game.
"Jarryd had a good game coming back, he had some nice touches and he'll need to build on that for the team.
Hayne had a definite influence on the match in his comeback and Henry only expects him to improve when the Titans face Newcastle at Cbus Super Stadium today.
"He really hasn't had much footy and he admitted that he was underdone last week," Henry said.
"But he still had some nice touches with the ball.
"He's still got to get his backfield coverage right and he knows that and he'll build on that, so I expect a more consistent game this weekend again."
Titans captain Ryan James also expects Hayne to improve, believing he is a lock for a Blues jersey in the Origin opener next month.
"There's really no other player in the game like Jarryd Hayne, he can do freakish things as you saw last week with a few touches of the ball," he said.
"It was unlucky (Dan) Sarginson didn't get over for that try but he just sees things that other people don't see and he has abilities that other people don't have and once all that falls into place I'd pick him in that side."
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