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Sharks brace for Hayne NRL return

NZN 5 days ago Scott Bailey

Cronulla are bracing for a Jarryd Hayne explosion as he attempts to return from an ankle injury for Gold Coast.

Hayne has been named on an extended bench for the Titans, but the third-placed Sharks are preparing as if the 29-year-old will play for the first time in a month.

Hayne trained freely with his Titans teammates on Wednesday alongside fellow hopefuls Kevin Proctor and Konrad Hurrell, who have also been named to possibly return.

But after a month of waiting on the sidelines while his commitment was questioned in the media, Hayne's former NSW State of Origin teammate Luke Lewis is tipping the fullback to return with gusto.

"Knowing Haynesy and playing with Haynesy, he thrives on that sort of stuff," Lewis said.

"When his back is against the wall he comes out swinging.

"He plays well in big games and I'm a big believer that he knows that Origin is around the corner and he wants to play in those big games.

"I reckon he's going to come out and have an absolute blinder."

Hayne has just a month to prove his worth to NSW selectors before the team is announced for the opening fixture on May 31.

When the time comes to attempt to shut Hayne down at Southern Cross Group Stadium, the Sharks' line-up has plenty of experience.

Hayne has played Lewis, Paul Gallen, James Maloney and Andrew Fifita at Origin level, as well as Joseph Paulo and Jeremy Latimore at Parramatta.

"We've got to be on our game," Lewis said.

"We can't give him too much room. Hopefully he starts his form next week, not this week."

Hayne and the 15th-placed Titans will have to produce something special to knock over the defending premiers.

Cronulla have not conceded a try in their past two wins, and Lewis believes the Sharks are approaching the levels they reached in claiming their maiden premiership last year.

"We're getting back to where we want to be," Lewis said

"We're a bit disappointed in some parts of our game but on the flip side we're really happy with other parts.

"If we can just combine those two things together and get them both right then I think we can definitely do something special."

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