Greenwood-Elgey combo major weapon for Titans
It was less a set play and more an acknowledgement of a growing mutual understanding.
As Titans five-eighth Kane Elgey drifted left late in the final minute of the first half against the Cowboys in Townsville last Saturday night, back-rower Joe Greenwood speared back on an angle.
Elgey hit the towering Englishman with a short ball 12 metres from the Cowboys try-line, a wonderful tackle down low by Lachlan Coote all that stopped Greenwood from crossing for his third try of the season.
But Elgey's reaction was anything but one of having come up short.
As Ash Taylor lined up the ensuing penalty goal Elgey could be heard screaming, "Joey!" and gave his back-rower a low five for a piece of play that produced two points and very nearly six.
He knew he and Greenwood had come within inches of putting a play that they had worked hard to perfect into practice and that their combination is developing into a major trump card for the Titans.
With Elgey locked into the club until the end of the 2018 season and Greenwood signed for a further two years the pair shape as a long-term combination on the club's left edge and Greenwood has no doubt their understanding is getting better with each outing.
"We're understanding a lot from each other," Greenwood said ahead of Saturday's all-important clash with the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium. "The way he runs with the ball and the way he takes the line on and the way I run my line.
"We've been playing a few weeks now with each other so we're sort of getting to grips with how each other play.
"We talk to each other all the time and work hard in training together and fingers crossed for a couple of tries."
Of course, scoring tries is only one part of the assignment and the Titans' left side has been its most susceptible, with 20 tries scored on the extreme left of their defensive line.
Elgey has been heavily targeted by opposition teams and has missed 47 tackles in his 11 games to date and Greenwood acknowledges that he needs to be conscious of lending his mate on his outside a hand, particularly against a Shaun Johnson-led Warriors attack.
"It's like any team, they do target the halfbacks quite a bit but it's my job to help the halfbacks out because the big lads will target them," said Greenwood.
"He's got his own job to do, he has to make his tackles, but I'll also come in and help as well, have a bit more urgency in defence just to help him out.
"They'll be attacking our side quite a bit with Johnson on our side as well so they'll probably be targeting Kane and our outside edges. We'll have to work extra hard to help them out."
Such a late addition to the Titans team this year that his name doesn't feature on the 10-year anniversary jersey that the players will wear this weekend, Greenwood has played all 80 minutes in the past three games to accelerate his NRL transition.
After playing 62 top-grade games for St Helens the 24-year-old is adapting quickly to the NRL style of play and hopes to display the full range of his capabilities the more his confidence grows.
"Now I know where I'm going to be starting and with a set team around me now with the injury crisis gone, fingers crossed, so we can have a settled team," he said.
"Then you know who's playing around us, whereabouts they run and you can pick your offloads.
"I like the offload game and I also like running the lines and stuff like that.
"I'll do a lot more of that as I get more confident with the people around me and how they play.
"I want to become more of an option in attack, getting early ball, use the offloads and with confidence that will come."