Together at last – Kane Elgey and Daly Cherry-Evans sweating it out in the Sea Eagles pre-season hoping to steer Manly back to the good old days of finals football.

Their union was originally supposed to happen in 2016 at the Gold Coast Titans. But Cherry-Evans back-flipped on a four-year deal and then Elgey tore his anterior cruciate ligament anyway that January, missing the entire season.

But in 2019 the two blond-haired Queenslanders seem destined to link in round one for Manly against the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

"His game is all about control and that's something good for me to learn off. He's got a lot of experience now so having him train with me is going to make my game improve that extra 20%," Elgey told NRL.com about Cherry-Evans.

"His kicking game is right up there so that's another thing I want to watch and learn."

Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Despite all that Elgey has too much respect for the other five-eighths at Manly, like Lachlan Croker and Trent Hodkinson, to believe his name will be next to the No.6 on the team sheet just yet.

Cherry-Evans (2011) and Hodkinson (2010) made their NRL debuts in the halves under returning coach Des Hasler in Sea Eagles colours. 

After hopefully cementing a berth in the starting side, Elgey plans to be firing on all cylinders by round 11 when Manly host the Titans at Lottoland.

"You bet. That would be pretty exciting to be a part of," the 25-year-old said.

"But starting at a new club, with a few other good halves here, I can't really look that far ahead. I'm still in pre-season mode but obviously my goal is to start round one."

Elgey knew he needed a fresh start. He had a reasonable return to the NRL in 2017 following his knee reconstruction but things went pear-shaped in 2018. He played just 11 first-grade games, spending most of the season in the Intrust Super Cup

"It's a hard one because obviously you can blame the knee as it stopped a big momentum for me," he told NRL.com.

"But now I don't think I can bring it up any more. Last year I just couldn't find consistency and I needed to find the love for the game again – that's the biggest thing.

"I'm hoping with the new start here that will well and truly come. I was with the Gold Coast for 10 years so I've had my whole footballing life there. A new start could be very good for me."

Kane Elgey on the run for the Titans in 2018.
Kane Elgey on the run for the Titans in 2018. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

It has been a shaky start. He was signed by Trent Barrett but is now being coached by Hasler.

"It didn't affect me too much as I knew [assistant coach] John Cartwright really well from Titans days and I knew he'd be there [at Manly] to help me.

"Basically it was just getting a new start, whoever the coach was going to be. Des has been so good.

"I had no idea what he'd be like. It felt like walking into a new school. I had heard he was called the 'Mad Scientist' but what I have found is he is very smart.

"My first impression is that he looks deep into the game – he loves a lot of video. But personally that's been helping me and also helping the team a lot."

What will also help Elgey is better defence. He had a 75.8% tackle efficiency rate in 2018.

"I'm working hard on my defence, and with the structures in place at Manly I think that will help me."