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Hayne to play lighter weight in 2017

AAP logoAAP 10/01/2017 Scott Bailey

Jarryd Hayne will return a leaner fullback in 2017 at the request of Gold Coast coach Neil Henry.

Off the back of an NFL weights program that emphasised the importance of building size, Hayne returned to the NRL appearing bulkier than he when he left Parramatta in 2014.

But with fullback role evolving, Henry wants Hayne to have stripped around 5kg when he returns to the field to take on the Sydney Roosters on March 4 in round one.

"He's come back a bit heavy and we're working on that," Henry told Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday.

"And he has dropped a couple of kilos so I think you will find that he will be four or five kilos lighter than he played last season with preparation."

Henry said Hayne had been training well since his return from the off-season break, but was clear that the role of the fullback had changed since Hayne left the Eels in 2014.

While kick return metres had dropped for most fullbacks in the past three years, the role of the No.1 in the line and as coverage at the back has seen off-the-ball work increase dramatically.

"The game has moved," Henry said.

"Particularly the kicking games have improved and sides run the ball a lot more now.

"You've really got to have a lot of back-field coverage. He's adapting to that."

Henry said Hayne had been playing an important role in the development of the club's younger players during the off-season.

The Titans have one of the most exciting squads in the NRL for 2017, with young halves Ashley Taylor and Kane Elgey set to herald a new era in the once-troubled club.

"He (Hayne) is very good with the younger players, talking about how he carries the ball, what he's looking at and what he's seeing which is very good," Henry said.

"I think he's going to have a good season."

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