Gold Coast Titans fullback Jarryd Hayne has launched a scathing attack on his former coach Neil Henry during an impromptu press conference.
Hayne spoke candidly about how his relationship with Henry unravelled, pinpointing a News Corp article at the start of the year about his apparent poor attitude to training.
Hayne said he did not appreciate the coach speaking to a journalist about these concerns rather than addressing him directly.
Henry was sacked by the Titans on Tuesday.
“There was an article at the start of the year that I felt was something that if someone had an issue, speak to me about it instead of going through a journalist,” Hayne said.
“That’s something that really upset me but I got over that and then for it to happen again that pretty much took me over the edge.
“Being my head coach, having a journalist that he has a relationship with and for that to come out in the media instead of coming up to me and talking to me about it.
“For that week to have no communication with me personally, that was a bit disappointing.
“I wasn’t to the point where I wanted to come in and blow up or go off my head. I literally said if that’s the case then so be it.”
Hayne’s comments were the latest flashpoint in a drama-filled 12 months at the ailing Gold Coast club.
It started with the fullback’s startling admission during his Titans signing announcement that he always wanted to join the Parramatta Eels and was disappointed not to receive a contract – hardly a glowing endorsement of his new employers.
A month later, a Snapchat video emerged of Hayne partying with a Hells Angel bikie. The NRL Integrity Unit issued a warning to Hayne to not associate with such types.
In January, Henry admitted Hayne had turned up to the start of pre-season training overweight, citing the excess bulk acquired from NFL conditioning. Not a good look for his first full season with the club.
In March, Hayne took aim at Henry, his teammates and the club in a heated Twitter exchange after getting fined by his coach for missing a training session.
Two weeks ago, the star fullback told media after the Titans-Dragons game he would be happy to walk if the coach no longer wanted him.
Fox League commentator Brett Finch played with Hayne at the Eels from 2007-2009. He admits although Hayne needs to take responsibility for his performance in a disappointing year, the rest of the club needs to take some blame too.
“Jarryd needs to take responsibility for his role in the team – but you’d think there’s only one person in the team with all the criticism [aimed his way],” he said.
Asked about whether the Titans need more out of their marquee man, Finch says it’s not Hayne’s issue whether he lives up to his high salary or not.
“He doesn’t have to justify his price tag,” he said.
“He didn’t give himself the contract – the board did. They are accountable. The CEO is accountable.”
Henry is Hayne’s eighth NRL coach in 11 years and joins the likes of Brian Smith, Daniel Anderson, Stephen Kearney and Brad Arthur as coaches who’ve been unable to consistently get the best out of the NSW fullback.
One thing is clear: Hayne hasn’t worked out for the Titans and it will take a special coach to turn the club around in 2018.