THE Titans will wrap Jarryd Hayne in cotton wool ahead of the NRL season, with the fullback to pull out of Saturday's All Stars match after tweaking his knee at the Auckland Nines.
Hayne, who was to line up at fullback for the World All Stars in their clash against the Indigenous side in Newcastle on Saturday, will relinquish his spot after suffering swelling in his knee following the opening day of the Nines.
The former Dally M medallist was rested as a precaution and has withdrawn from the All Stars match to ensure he is at full fitness for the Gold Coast's opening round against Nines winners the Roosters on March 4.
Coach Neil Henry said Hayne had fluid on the knee and while he could possibly have played yesterday had the Titans pushed further into the finals, he would be rested this week.
"There's no major damage there at all, it just got a little bit twisted and it blew up a little bit later,'' Henry said of Hayne's knee.
"It didn't do it straight after the game. In fact, he hurt it in (Saturday's) first game against Cronulla.
"He didn't think much of it but it ended up swelling up a bit after he had a massage that night and we just left him out.''
Hayne played a leading hand in the Titans' wins against Cronulla and Canterbury on the opening day of the Nines but was forced to watch from the sidelines yesterday as the Gold Coast eventually bowed out to his former club Parramatta in the quarter-finals.
Henry, who coached the inaugural Indigenous All Stars team in 2010, is particularly supportive of the concept but said it was only sensible for Hayne to withdraw from the match.
"I think it's the sensible thing to do around the swelling and the fact that these things can take a couple of weeks to settle down,'' Henry said.
"It's a fairly intense game but they do have a lot of interchanges and carry some bigger squads.
"With Ash Taylor, Nathan Peats, Ryan James and Tyrone Roberts there - Jarryd won't be involved now - we had five potentially (involved) but that's how it is.''
While the Titans are great supporters of the All Stars concept, particularly given the involvement of club legend Preston Campbell in its development, Henry said there was a recognition the NRL season had to be the playing group's main focus and it would be a mistake for players carrying niggling injuries to take part.
"I think we recognise (the NRL season is the focus) and other clubs do too,'' he said.
"If the players aren't fully fit and ready to go and committed to it, it is a fairly intense game, so you want your players to be able to handle it and no coach is going to risk a player unless they're right to go.
"It's common sense really and the players recognise that as well.''
But Henry said he had no issue with Ashley Taylor taking part in the game off the back of off-season surgery and without another hitout under his belt.
"He's been training well and he didn't come over (to Auckland), so that will freshen him up for the week leading into (All Stars).
"He's looking forward to the opportunity to get into that game.''
The Titans - minus Hayne and their All Stars - will head to Alice Springs this week for a trial against Parramatta.
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