The Jarryd Hayne era at the Gold Coast Titans is over and CEO Graham Annesley insists the club will continue to look to sign big name marquee players in the future.
Annesley said he met Hayne early on Thursday where he expressed his desire to return to Western Sydney to be near his wider family and friends.
The Titans granted a release, which is effective immediately, and Hayne is expected to return to his former club Parramatta Eels although no deal has been done.
Annesley said he did not feel let down by Hayne’s decision despite not serving his full two-year contract.
“I am firmly of the view that you can have contracts and sign all sorts of things but you really need to have people’s hearts and minds involved,” he said.
“I don’t think you can look back and have any regrets. Jarryd was probably the biggest signing this club has ever made and that was an important statement about the future of this club.
“It shows we are able to compete with other clubs for marquee players so any perception this club takes the leftovers was blown well and truly out of the water.”
Annesley said the club would “continue to look for marquee players” while conceding Hayne’s contribution on the field could have been better during his 23 games for the Titans.
He said the flip side of that was the interest in the Titans generated by Hayne’s signing.
Titans coach Garth Brennan said he would look at what players were available on the market to fill the fullback position but insisted the club would not rush to sign someone prematurely.
He confirmed he had been inundated with calls from player agents putting forward their clients, including in the past 24 hours.
“Our recruitment strategy is going to be very selective and if there is a marquee out there that ticks the boxes, we are in a position that we can speak to them,” he said.
“Jarryd is one of 33 players we have in our squad. He’s an exceptional talent but I am excited about the guys we have got.
“I want to look within the Gold Coast area and there might be a superstar 18-year-old fullback on our doorstep.”
Within his own squad Brennan said Dan Sarginson, Phillip Sami, Brendan Elliot and Tyronne Roberts-Davis were options to play fullback.
Brennan said losing a player of Hayne’s calibre “hurts” but it was up to him and his staff to find a solution.
There is plenty of cap space available to spend up big but Brennan said he would approach any outside recruitment with his eye on “2018 and beyond”.