Elgey's pathway to the big time
For a Gold Coast youngster who mixed surfing with soccer, the closest Kane Elgey got to rugby league growing up was a casual game of touch football with friends at Tugun every Friday night.
It wasn't intended to be a forerunner to a career playing rugby league or even junior footy on the weekends but with a passing game that has since had the likes of Jarryd Hayne speaking in wonderment, it's perhaps little surprise he eventually caught someone's eye.
Midway through another season of soccer – this time the under-13s – Elgey was beginning to lose interest in the sport and a fateful phone call from a junior rugby league coach would soon change his life forever.
"Halfway through the year playing under-13s soccer I just wasn't enjoying it at all and all my mates were playing rugby league," Elgey told NRL.com.
"At Tugun they used to have touch comps every night – pretty casual – and I used to go down there just for a social thing.
"It was always soccer because my older brothers played soccer as well but my mates kept hassling me to play and then a junior coach rang me because he'd seen me play touch footy.
"That was the point where I decided to switch over.
"I played the rest of the season and then never looked back."
The switch was immediate and he made a cross-code move mid-season and now 10 years on he is preparing to return to the fold with the Titans after missing the entire 2016 season with a knee injury.
That injury occurred in an innocuous training drill in January this year and he admitted that after so many years of playing soccer as a kid the contact aspect of rugby league took some time to adjust to.
"It was pretty different, the contact thing was the biggest thing to get used to," said Elgey, who was the 2014 NYC Player of the Year.
"I was a surfer and soccer player and never really played any contact sport and it probably took me a good three or four years to get used to the contact you have in rugby league.
"That was the biggest transition, the contact side of it. But in saying that, I enjoyed it as well."
And like almost every star who came through the junior ranks, Elgey says it is the friendships that he formed whilst playing for the Tugun Seahawks that have stayed with him today.
"I just loved that team environment," Elgey said.
"When you play footy you seem to develop these lifelong friendships.
"I was friends with the boys that I started with and I'm still friends with them now so friendship is a big part of the game."
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