Hayne sparkles as Titans see off Knights
JARRYD Hayne take a bow.
While the Gold Coast's marquee man wore the No.1 on his back, it's not the role he played against Newcastle on Saturday.
Fullback, left centre, right centre - it doesn't matter.
Truth be told, Hayne could've played anywhere and he still would've made his presence felt.
In the first half it was Hayne versus Dane Gagai. It could well be the first of many battles with the duo expected to continue their rivalry in the State of Origin series opener on May 31.
Gagai is expected to be selected for Queensland either at centre or on the wing, while Hayne is in the frame to make his first appearance for the Blues since 2014.
But it was Hayne who claimed bragging rights as the Titans beat Newcastle 38-8 at Cbus Super Stadium.
"It was all right," Hayne told Fox Sports of his move to centre.
"It was a bit shaky. It was good. One of my strengths is talking to the boys.
"We got stuck in the grind there and were on the back foot for a bit.
"We had to make sure everyone's in the right holes and knowing what we're doing."
The Titans started fast when Ash Taylor showed up Sam Stone with a step before handing it to Nathan Peats, who spilled the ball short of the line to deny himself the opening try.
Five minutes later Brendan Elliot was held up over the line by Ryan James.
A handling error from Dan Sarginson seconds later gifted the Knights possession and the visitors struck three plays later when Danny Levi popped a short ball to Sam Stone, who beat Hayne to score.
Ahead 6-0, a brilliant run from Daniel Saifiti finished in a penalty to the Knights and Brock Lamb took the points on offer to extend the lead.
Taylor took a knock to the head mid-way through the first half, which split him above the left eye, but the little half soldiered on.
With Kane Elgey returning to the side, Hayne shifted into the centres to allow Tyrone Roberts to play fullback.
With the No.7 shifting to Jarryd Hayne's edge, a penalty against Gagai saw Hayne take a quick tap and blow off Stone and Danny Levi to get his team on the board.
Jarrod Wallace was forced from the field after copping the arm of Elliot in a tackle and failed his HIA test.
Meanwhile Elliot cleaned up Jacob Saifiti in some friendly fire when the prop's head bounced off the fullback's hip as he cleaned up a grubber.
Trailing by two at the break, it took less than three minutes into the second half for Elgey to take on the line and duck under a lacklustre arm grab from Jack Stockwell to claim the lead.
Up by two, Taylor linked with Hayne who'd drifted to the other side of the field and whizzed past Peter Mata'utia to score.
Sione Mata'utia was forced from the field in the 55th after a head knock and moments later Konrad Hurrell beat Nathan Ross to a kick to push the lead out to 20-8.
A strip from Joe Greenwood on Lamb 10m from the line saw the Englishman crash over for his second try in the NRL and Hurrell finished the Knights off with a dart from dummy half for his second.
With the clock dwindling down, Ryan James put his hand up for a run and sealed the win with a determined run over Elliot.