Eagle-eyed Elgey to haunt former NRL club

Manly playmaker Kane Elgey has a reunion with his former Gold Coast teammates this weekend.
Manly playmaker Kane Elgey has a reunion with his former Gold Coast teammates this weekend.

Kane Elgey can relate to the plight of former Gold Coast teammate Ash Taylor.

Elgey became the pin-up boy for the Titans' rebuild when he made his NRL debut in 2015 and earned a big-money extension soon after.

And the local product appeared set to form Gold Coast's halves of the future when the club stole Ash Taylor from Brisbane a year after Elgey's rookie season.

However injury and poor form meant Elgey struggled to live up to his price tag - reportedly $600,000 a season - and ultimately made a move to Manly this season.

And while he suffered from some confidence issues early, the 25-year-old has shone in the absence of injured skipper Daly Cherry-Evans in recent weeks.

Elgey will again be the chief playmaker when he faces his former club for the first time on Saturday, with Cherry-Evans still a week away from returning.

"The last month, his football's been outstanding. He's stepped up, (and) he's had to step up because we've had injuries," said Manly coach Des Hasler.

"He's not playing small. He's really working hard and giving it his best shot.

"It's great to see and good to watch."

Hasler admitted being surprised at how poorly the 15th-placed Titans, who have lost their last four matches, have played so far this year with Taylor pulling the strings.

Their 2-8 record is their worst start to a season in club history, but Hasler sympathised for second-year counterpart Garth Brennan.

"After viewing them and watching them, it's hard to understand why they are where they're at," Hasler said.

"They throw a lot of footy at you. I guess they're a side that are relatively young and I hope they give Garth a bit of time to develop them."

Brennan defended his halfback's form and is confident his star player would bounce back soon.

"I don't think he's playing bad," Brennan said.

"I think on the weekend he ran the ball five or six times in the first half and got tackled or went to the line, which is what you want from a halfback.

"He's had a tough start to the year. He keeps working on it, we keep working with him, and hopefully we can start to see the best out of Ash Taylor."

While the Sea Eagles take an unchanged line-up into the match, the Titans have lost Jai Arrow (hip flexor) while benefiting from the returns of fellow forwards Shannon Boyd and Keegan Hipgrave.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Titans are aiming for three straight wins against Manly for the first time in club history.

* Manly's Brendan Elliot will play his 50th game, three of which were with the Titans last year following stints at the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle.

* Des Hasler will surpass John Lang with 372 games coached, moving him to outright 10th for most games coached in the NRL.

Australian Associated Press