Elgey sees the light after tough season
INTERIM Titans coach Craig Hodges says he has seen the "penny drop" for Kane Elgey as the embattled half begins to rediscover his joy for the game.
Elgey has struggled to return to his best this season after a year-long absence following a knee reconstruction and then a horror sternum injury.
Pegged as a man the Titans want to build their future around, Elgey has been locked in a battle with Tyrone Roberts for the chance to partner Ash Taylor in the halves this season and has faced plenty of scrutiny as he works to return to his best.
It's a scenario the 23-year-old has not faced before, and one he admitted earlier this year had got to him.
"It's all been mental this year and battling the negativity I probably haven't copped before," he said.
"That was tough. I'm growing to just forget about it and move on.
"I'm only young, I've still got a lot ahead, so I've got to remember that."
But Hodges, who with Terry Matterson has taken the reins for the Titans after the axing of Neil Henry, said he had seen a change in Elgey in last week's clash against the Bulldogs when he left the field with a smile.
"I think confidence is the key (for Elgey)," Hodges said.
"I thought he was really good against the Bulldogs the other day. He came on as a dummy-half, which is not a traditional position for him, and he just enjoyed his football.
"I saw the penny drop for him a little bit.
"He came off with a smile on his face and he's had a bit of energy about him this week, so I think he'll have a really good performance this week. I've got a lot of confidence around Kane."
Elgey will start at five-eighth this week with Roberts undergoing surgery on his shoulder this week in a bid to be ready for the start of the pre-season, probably on the Gold Coast given he is likely to re-sign with the Titans for 2018.
Hodges said Elgey had probably been guilty of putting too much pressure on himself this year.
"He's a hard marker, as a lot of them are," Hodges said.
"They're professional athletes and the season hasn't gone the way that we want, so they beat themselves up - too harshly at times.
"But he's a hell of a footballer, Kane, and we've seen that.
"We've seen him do it at this level and it was just really pleasing from a personal point of view to see him come off happy.
"I think that's something he's struggled with a little bit when he's been hard on himself.
"I think he'll be good (this) afternoon."
Hodges knows it won't be easy for the remarkably understrength Titans today against a Roosters side many are tipping to make the grand final next month.
But he expects a good effort from his men in their final hitout of a tough season.
"We are under the pump and it is tough so for us, our performance is far more important than the result," Hodges said.
"You don't always get to choose how you get your opportunity, the only thing you get to choose is what you do with it.
"It's a great opportunity to see what our people - staff and players - are made of.
"It's a challenging time and some people step up to that challenge and some people want to sit down.
"The ones that step up, they're the ones that can take you forward as times get better."