Elgey impresses Titans with toughness
The kick to the corner, the flashy tap-on and the controlled juggle before scoring will be the things that dominate the highlight reels but Titans teammates say it was Kane Elgey's toughness that was most impressive on Sunday against the Raiders.
Coach Neil Henry said on Tuesday that it would take a "drastic recovery" for Elgey to be cleared of a hip complaint that had sidelined him from the previous game against the Bulldogs but he was a late – and ultimately critical – inclusion.
He was far from 100 per cent and noticeably troubled by the injury throughout the course of his team's 28-12 win but with three try assists, a try of his own, two line-break assists and four goals Elgey responded in the manner coaches and teammates dream of.
Whether young players have the inner fortitude to push through the pain barrier is one of the great unknowns when they come into first grade but when Greg Bird left the field inside the first five minutes, it was the 21-year-old rookie who came to the fore in his 14th game in the NRL.
"Although there were a few good things and a couple of bad things, I think the positive out of Kano's performance was that he was in doubt most of the week," said Titans captain Nate Myles, who himself finished the game with a hand injury.
"He probably could have sat out but he got on the field and put in a terrific performance.
"He's very shy and giggles [off the field] but deep down he is a good footy player and when he gets out there he shows glimpses of it."
Back-rower Ryan James was himself returning from a shoulder injury and praised Elgey's performance in the light of losing Bird early and without his senior halves partner Aidan Sezer there by his side.
"Kane definitely talked well all game and got man of the match so he definitely stood up in that position and did what he had to do," said James, who was placed on report for a high tackle on Raiders half Sam Williams late in the first half.
"'Birdy' is such a good talker on the field but Kane definitely took over and probably had one of the better games he's had this year.
"It's good to come off the back of an injury and have a game like that."
The Titans have signed exciting young Broncos talent Ashley Taylor and experienced Knights half Tyrone Roberts for 2016 but clearly view Elgey as a staple of their halves in the coming years.
His left foot provided Kalifa Faifai Loa with the first of his two tries, came up with a valuable 40/20 in the second half and potted four goals from five attempts after Daniel Mortimer missed with his two shots on goal and his vision delivered Faifai Loa's second early in the second half with a superb cut-out pass.
"Kane has had that hip problem and is certainly not 100 per cent but it's good for him to be able to get out there and get 80 minutes out and not be fully fit," said Henry.
"That will be great for his confidence about handling the situation out there. A lot of the attack fell on his shoulders too and I thought he handled it well.
"The senior guys have told him that he's here for a reason and to be confident in his own ability and get out there and play.
"He's got a bright future, he's a competitor and he's got a bit of awareness about him for the long ball for a try where he has sized up the situation and made the right choice.
"He's certainly a player of the future."