Titans’ $600k playmaker at career crossroads
OFF-CONTRACT and out of excuses.
It's looming as a make or break season for Kane Elgey but he isn't running from it.
The Gold Coast five-eighth is only four years into his career and already at a crossroads of sorts.
It's a challenge but it's not one he's running from.
At 24, Elgey has had an injury interrupted past two seasons.
An ACL injury in 2016 and sternum issues last year has halted any momentum the playmaker could have.
On a $600,000 per season deal, that kind of money comes with high expectations.
With a new coach and his halves partner Ash Taylor locked up on a lucrative long-term deal, the spotlight is pointing on Elgey to prove his worth.
"I obviously didn't have the best year," Elgey said.
"I struggled with some things and more injuries happened again with my sternum but I've had a good pre-season, it's like starting again.
"I'm very excited. I've got no excuses this year. I've got to go out there and have some fun."
With Garth Brennan now at the helm, taking the coaching gig from Neil Henry late last year, Elgey admits he was scared at what the change would mean for his career.
While the Titans' NYC player of the year Alex Brimson is pushing for a start in first grade, Brennan has put his faith in Elgey to start the year alongside Taylor.
Brennan and Taylor have had a relationship for more than 12 months with the former Penrith lower-grade coach acting as a mentor to the half.
Now Elgey is hopeful Brennan can provide that same kind of guidance for him this season.
"On day one he brought me into his office and said he's going to believe in me," Elgey said.
"He's going to give me that shot. That was the thing I was scared about getting a new coach.
"At training he's basically coaching the hell out of me, in a good way, I'm very excited."
In returning to the form from his rookie season, he'll slide alongside close mate Ryan James who returns to the backrow in 2018.
James, who has been in first grade since 2010, knows the highs and lows of the NRL but is backing the playmaker to bounce back.
"I've known Elgey for a long time," James said.
"We've both been signed to the club for a long time. When he had his debut season we played together and we had a really good season and when he did his knee at training it was looked like nothing.
"I've come back from an ACL, they're never easy. Everyone knows he can play footy, he has the confidence in himself when he's playing great footy, we just need to get it out of him. Hopefully being together it brings it out of him."
In bringing the best out of Elgey, he needs to overcome the white noise.
To assist that process, Brennan shared a story with him about Andrew Johns' struggles to overcome a knee reconstruction.
While knowing an immortal of the game battled with the mental scars of an injury of this nature, Elgey acknowledges he's physically ready for the New Year with the final hurdle to overcome, the voice in the back of his mind.
"I'm one of those blokes who think too much," Elgey said.
"I let that sort of get to me last year. I've got no excuses now. The knee feels good so hopefully I can go out there and give the fans what they want."