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He's the one-time surf shop owner from Taree with six kids who supported the Dragons for 40 years. Meet Norm Black, the man who delivered Jarryd Hayne to a club and region crying out for a hero.

Black ignored his favourite side – who wanted Hayne – and shut down an attempt from the Eels to recapture their favourite son.

Black is the owner and founder of TripADeal, one of Australia's fastest growing companies. Hayne will be a brand ambassador for a new offshoot company, Phone A Flight.

"This didn't happen overnight," Black said of the signing. "It started six months ago when I was starting to think about who we wanted to promote our product.

"I just thought there and then the person we need is Jarryd, the Hayne Plane. His story really inspired me.

"A friend of mine knew Brian Canavan, who was then the COO of the Titans, and I got in touch. He impressed me straight away and he also got a huge rap from David Gyngell [former Channel Nine chief executive], who I also know. I told him when the whole Rio dream was starting off that if there ever was a chance to be involved with Jarryd, I wanted in. If the club was going to have a crack at Jarryd, I'd be part of it. I just liked what he was about.

"This didn't happen overnight," Black said of the signing. "It started six months ago when I was starting to think about who we wanted to promote our product.

"I went and had a meeting with his agent, Wayne Beavis, and once I met him I was even more interested. I saw there was a genuine care, like a father for his son, and I thought I want to be involved with these guys and I want the region of the Northern Rivers to have a hero like Jarryd and a team to look up to in the Titans."

When Hayne didn't make the Rio Games he became an option for the Titans. But Parramatta were his first choice and they needed money.

All this and he had never met Hayne. "I met him [Hayne] for the first time on Tuesday afternoon at [Titans chairwoman] Rebecca Frizelle's house. It was away from the cameras, microphones, all that kind of thing and I was so impressed with him as a young man. I listened to him talk and I thought if my kids grow up to be that kind of person I'd be really proud. What really sealed it for me was he said to me, 'I'm just going crazy, I want to get out there, I just want to play league'.

"And I could see his pain about Parramatta but, to be honest, it was more about his mates, especially Tim [Mannah]. He didn't want to let him down. I talked to him about that and said that if I had an employee that had that bond like that I explained that it would be understandable if the environment had changed ... You wouldn't want someone to be loyal to his own detriment and I think he got that, but I did love his loyalty.

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.