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No end in sight to Hayne's centre shift

By Tony Webeck, Chief Queensland Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

2017 NRL - Grant Trouville © NRL Photos
2017 NRL - Grant Trouville © NRL Photos

Jarryd Hayne has been declared fit to face the Sea Eagles at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday but his shift to the centres will go into a third week at least with Titans coach Neil Henry sticking with Tyrone Roberts at fullback.

Early fears that Hayne was forced from the field last Saturday with a recurrence of the ankle injury that kept him out for five weeks were allayed straight after the game, a nerve issue caused by a blow to the leg responding immediately to treatment.

He ran on Tuesday morning and was named at left centre, the position he has played in wins against the Knights and Storm in the Titans' past two starts.

Like what you saw last Saturday night? Get to Cbus Super Stadium this Saturday for the match against the Sea-Eagles. Click here to get your tickets. 

The Titans welcome back utility Karl Lawton into the squad this week but are facing the prospect of being without both Dan Sarginson (shoulder) and Ryan Simpkins for an extended period, Henry saying that there was "significant damage" to Simpkins' right knee.

The news on Hayne was much more positive but Henry was adamant that the most potent attacking team in the competition is best served with their superstar signing in the centres and Roberts in the No.1 jersey.

"[Fullback] is his preferred position but at the moment what suits us is to have Ty at the back and him in the centres," Henry said.

"It's where he can play his footy for us at the moment and as we've seen in both games he's popped up on the other side of the field and interchanged a little bit with Tyrone as well and we'll try and keep doing that.

"Tyrone Roberts is foremost our fullback and Jarryd's our left centre but there'll be opportunities for them to interchange a little bit in attack but defensively they just get back to their roles for the team."

Although he has played just 16 of his 187 career NRL games in the centres it is a position in which Hayne has excelled in the past, scoring an astonishing seven tries in three Tests in the centres for the Kangaroos and another try in his only game at centre for New South Wales.

"Playing in the centres doesn't hinder his chances around playing for New South Wales because Laurie [Daley, Blues coach] would probably look at him in that spot anyway," Henry said.

"It certainly gives us another dimension to our attack. Foremost he's got to get his job done in the centres and he didn't see a lot of ball in that game [against Melbourne] and he came off early as well.

"Hopefully this week he'll get a bit more possession on that left edge but he's got a bit of a roaming commission out there anywhere so he can get his hands on the ball."

Prior to getting injured on Saturday night Hayne was found wanting by Storm, Queensland and Australian centre Will Chambers out wide but rather than singling out Hayne, Henry said that the space that was created was a result of a lack of communication in the defensive line.

"On the inside of the line he didn't get any help and they got across us from one side to the other," Henry explained.

"He admitted he was a little bit tight on that and Chambers had a nice out-ball and he got done for speed there. But we didn't help him out on the inside as well.

"We looked at that and their first pass went across about six of our defenders. We were very compressed on that side of the field."

This article first appeared on NRL.com