North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans from 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville. Titans Kane Elgey after a Cowboys try. Picture: Zak Simmonds
North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans from 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville. Titans Kane Elgey after a Cowboys try. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Elgey fighting for NRL future

KANE Elgey is fighting for his NRL future after Titans coach Garth Brennan axed the out-of-form five-eighth in favour of Bryce Cartwright.

Elgey will play for Tweed Heads in the Intrust Super Cup on Saturday while Cartwright wears the Gold Coast's No. 6 jersey against Cronulla at Cbus Super Stadium.

Brennan's patience with the defensively suspect Elgey expired following the Gold Coast's 26-14 loss to North Queensland.

Elgey was exposed on the left edge and while Cartwright is no perfect defender, Brennan has shaken up his squad in the hope of avoiding a third straight defeat.

Elgey, 24, is off-contract at season's end and facing an uncertain future, with the Titans yet to offer the former under-20s star a new deal.

Brennan was adamant Elgey could fight his way back into the NRL and this was not the end of his 42-game career on the Gold Coast.

"He is still part of my plans for this year," he said.

"This doesn't jeopardise anything. It's up to Kane to work on the areas I think he needs to work on.

"Kane's a fantastic young man. He is a quality person. I'm really looking forward to the day I can bring him back into the side.

"I'm sure that will be at some stage. How long that will be is up to how hard Kane wants to work.

"He understands the areas he needs to work on, mainly defensively and taking more control of the team.

"He was disappointed but understood it. He didn't argue or question it. He understood his form wasn't where it needed to be.

"I'm confident Kane can bounce back. He's only young. I'm counting on him coming back into the team at some stage."

Elgey has had a rollercoaster NRL career.

After winning the NYC under-20s player of the year award in 2014, Elgey made his NRL debut in 2015 and was sensational in 16 games.

A knee reconstruction saw him miss the entire 2016 season before he had a year to forget in 2017, winning just three of the 19 matches he played.

Brennan put his faith in Elgey and halfback Ash Taylor forming a winning combination this season, but the five-eighth's inconsistency and poor defence has seen him axed after seven rounds.

Elgey has struggled so far this season.
Elgey has struggled so far this season.

Cartwright has been open about his preference to play in the back-row, however Brennan said the former Panther's best performances had been at five-eighth.

"If you go back to the best football Bryce Cartwright played, it was in 2016 and he was playing five-eighth," he said.

"It's not a position that's foreign to him. He's played his best football in the NRL at six.

"He has made it clear it's not his preferred position, but it's about the team being first.

"I'm excited Bryce is there. We're going to work really hard to get Kane back up in that six position but I'm more than confident Bryce will do the job while that's happening."

Brennan also axed winger Tyronne Roberts-Davis and promoted Knights recruit Brendan Elliot for his first NRL appearance for the Titans.