Thurston: Respect Hayne’s decision
JOHNATHAN Thurston says becoming a father "changes everything" and people should respect Jarryd Hayne's decision to leave the Titans to be close to his daughter.
One of the greatest players in the history of the game, Thurston is widely regarded as a rugby league immortal in waiting.
But it is his role away from the game, as a father of three daughters under four, that Thurston is just as proud of and he said he would understand if Hayne walked away from the Titans to ensure he maintained a role in his young daughter's life.
"Becoming a father changes everything really," Thurston said.
"(Hayne) has got a big decision to make, not only for his footy but in his life.
"I know Jarryd a little bit but I don't know too much about the history of him and his family.
"I don't know what his motivation is or anything like that but if he wants to go to be closer to his family, then the community and the average punter needs to respect that."
The gun half - who will be on the Gold Coast tonight as The Star hosts An Evening with Johnathan Thurston - shared the limelight with Hayne in 2014 when the pair were named joint winners of the Dally M Medal as best player in the game.
Hayne's path diverted from rugby league shortly after as he chased his NFL dream and then a rugby sevens spot with Fiji before returning to league and signing with the Titans.
Given that, Hayne's every move was bound to attract attention and Thurston said he had not been surprised by the spotlight on the 29-year-old.
"I suppose for what Jarryd's achieved in the game there's always going to be that media circus that follows him," Thurston said.
"It doesn't matter if he's at the Titans or at another club. Media, I think, are intrigued by him.
"That's just going to follow him wherever he goes."
Hayne is set to return to Parramatta - the club at which he started his NRL career - and Thurston said fans were likely to follow.
"Whatever club invests in him, because he's done so much, he puts bums on seats," Thurston said.
"He's played NFL, so he's done quite a lot and that's why I think the media are intrigued by Jarryd.
"I know he keeps his cards close to his chest at times as well and I think wherever Jarryd ends up, the club's only going to benefit from having a player of his quality there."