Jarryd Hayne and young half Kane Elgey may yet share the Gold Coast Titans' captaincy at this weekend's Auckland Nines.
Weeks after being snubbed as a contender, Jarryd Hayne may yet share the Gold Coast Titans' captaincy on Auckland Nines debut this weekend.
And it seems Hayne could be in the mix to share the Titans' reins for the 2017 NRL season after impressing coach Neil Henry in the New Year.
Newly re-signed prop Ryan James was named skipper of a 19-strong Titans nines squad unveiled by Henry on Monday.
But Henry said he was tempted to put James in cotton wool ahead of his February 10 All Stars appearance in Newcastle and relegate the forward to non-playing 19th man duties at Eden Park.
He said fullback Hayne and comeback half Kane Elgey would adopt the reins in James' absence.
Hayne was not even mentioned when Henry named his seven 2017 captaincy contenders in December - James, Elgey, new recruit Kevin Proctor, Chris McQueen, Zeb Taia, Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts.
But Hayne now appears to be in the mix after overcoming a tough start to his first NRL pre-season in three years.
"He's been very good," Henry said.
"He hasn't been part of that pre-season and the standards are fairly high here so ... it's been tough for him with the amount of running we're doing.
"(But) he's really made an effort to improve in key areas and he has - he's in good shape.
"And Jarryd being an ambassador for the (nines) tournament as well, he's keen to get out there.
"It will be interesting to see how he goes in the nines game."
Nathan Friend and William Zillman shared the 2016 Titans reins and Henry reiterated he may again adopt a co-captaincy model this season.
Elgey will make his long awaited return for the Titans in Auckland after a knee injury ruined his 2016 season.
Journeyman winger Daniel Vidot will make his Titans debut in Auckland.
Young gun No.7 Taylor and ex-Eels hooker Nathan Peats were rested from nines duty due to their Indigenous All Stars selection.
Kiwi forward Proctor, English international Dan Sarginson, centre Konrad Hurrell (all knee) and 2016 Nines revelation Agnatius Paasi (shoulder) were also not considered.
Gold Coast plays nines pool games against NRL defending champions Cronulla, Canterbury and Penrith.
By Laine Clark, AAP