Elgey ready to lead new Titans era
Kane Elgey has welcomed the responsibility of becoming the Titans' first home-grown superstar, penning a new deal that keeps the 22-year-old on the Gold Coast until at least the end of the 2018 season.
In the wake of the Centre of Excellence debacle and seemingly never-ending off-field indiscretions, rugby league fans on the Gold Coast have been craving a bona fide star they can call their own and they may just have found it in Elgey.
The signing of Daly-Cherry Evans 12 months ago was at the time viewed as a landmark day for the club but the Manly halfback's contract backflip and the emergence of Elgey has the potential to give rugby league on the Gold Coast a far brighter future.
Courted by multiple NRL clubs looking for a classy playmaker, Gold Coast born and bred Elgey said it was his commitment to the region and the Titans that persuaded him to reject more lucrative offers to make his name close to home.
"For me it's always about family and my friends and my teammates and I got the opportunity to play here and I wanted to be loyal," said Elgey, who played 16 games in his rookie NRL season last year.
"The young kids coming through go to Sydney when they're 15 and they come back. That could be a good example where you can just stay here with your family and who knows what happens in the future.
"Last year that Manly thing dragged on for a while and this is done Round 2 so it's a big relief.
"I was only a couple of games in and to learn off someone of [Cherry-Evans'] calibre... But him not coming is in the past now and I'd like to be the No.7 for this team."
Of the current Titans NRL squad only Elgey, Ryan James and Ryan Simpkins were born on the Gold Coast with the likes of David Mead and Matt Srama coming through the under-20s system before graduating to first grade.
It's been partly to blame for the disconnect the Titans experienced with the local community but coach Neil Henry believes the signing of Elgey and emergence of Jed Cartwright, Brian Kelly, Greg Leleisiuao and Tyronne Roberts-Davis gives the team a growing local flavour.
"Born and bred here, playing footy down at Tugun, that's what it's about," Henry said of Elgey's rise to the NRL ranks.
"We want to keep our best players on the Coast and the fans have a real connection to the local guys as well. That's fantastic for the club and our supporters.
"We've got a great nursery here, we need to get that connection and maintain that connection. I feel that we have moved a long way towards establishing a pathway for our local juniors to come through and that's what we want.
"We need to be a development club and we've got the nursery here to do that and certainly signing Kane to a contract is proof that we really want our local guys playing first grade for this region."
With multiple suitors and regular speculation regarding the Titans' future on the Gold Coast, CEO Graham Annesley heralded Elgey's signature as a major endorsement for the direction in which the club is heading.
"It's fantastic news for our club. Kane's a local junior, he was sensational for us last year and we see him around this club for a long time to come," said Annesley.
"It's no secret that were multiple clubs that were all keen to get Kane's signature and the fact that he has decided to stay here at the Titans is a great vote of confidence in where this club's going.
"It's certainly a great vote of confidence in the club and Kane's ability to be with us and lead us around the park in the position that he plays over the coming seasons."
Sidelined for the season with an ACL injury he suffered at the opening training session of 2016, Elgey had been courted by a number of other NRL clubs but has sacrificed a larger pay packet to help drag the Titans up the Telstra Premiership ladder.
After a standout 2015 season where he went from the under-20s to match-winning NRL playmaker, Elgey was one of the Titans' most impressive performers during pre-season training and was elevated into the leadership group prior to suffering his knee injury.