Titans halfback Kane Elgey has celebrated his return from a three-and-a-half-month banishment from the NRL by securing his future with a two-year deal at Manly.
The 24-year-old was given his first chance since round seven, during Saturday's heart-breaking 17-16 loss to Penrith, through a training injury suffered by fullback Michael Gordon which could be season ending.
It meant AJ Brimson switched to fullback, allowing Elgey to combine with Ash Taylor in the halves.
While there was speculation Elgey may be forced to move to the English Super League to rebuild his career, he said he always wanted to stay in the NRL and is relieved he has some security.
Three years ago Manly chased the then 21-year-old during his outstanding rookie season in response to Daly Cherry-Evans moving to the Gold Coast.
After Aidan Sezer had departed for Canberra and Cherry Evans reneged on his Titans deal, Elgey stayed loyal to his home club after fans signed a petition to keep here.
However, after a pre-season accident forced him to miss the entire 2016 season (coinciding with Taylor's arrival) and he struggled with confidence and a sternum injury in 2017, he has largely been the Titans' forgotten man after new coach Garth Brennan dropped him after the round seven loss to the Cowboys and told him to work on his defence.
Brimson took full advantage of his opportunities in the No. 6 jersey and it looked like Elgey would never wear the Titans colours again.
He was solid in his return, combining with Taylor to set up a try for winger Phillip Sami and was a dominant ally for Taylor in attack. He was willing in defence despite being targeted but was pushed off by Panthers centre Dean Whare late in the game as Whare squeezed between Elgey and Brendan Elliott to set up a try for Nathan Cleary.
"It's been hard and pretty nerve-wracking," said Elgey of the past few months while he knew the Titans would not offer him a contract.
"Of course I was worried [he mightn't get an NRL contract], but I just had to keep at it in 'Q Cup' and hope my manager could get something for me and in the end I had a few options, which was good.
"It is what it is, it's a business. My type of football wasn't what they wanted here and you have to accept that but hopefully I can go down to Manly and get better and better and I just want to keep learning.
"Having [former Titans head coach] John Cartwright at Manly had a lot to do with it, and Trent Barrett, being a five-eighth, as head coach is great.
"I'm hoping I can stay in the Titans team for the next few games and get some confidence to take into next year but if I'm not I'll go back to Tweed and do my best there.
"All my family came out today and treated it like my last game [for the Titans]."
Gordon's injury is tough luck for the 34-year-old veteran who has been in outstanding form. He has a two-hour operation to put his wrist back in place after it became entangled in another player's body in a defensive drill on Wednesday.
The Titans announced on Friday Tyrone Roberts will return to the club for two years after he completes the season with Warrington, who are on the way to the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
They are also interested in Melbourne Storm's Riley Jacks as a further back-up in the halves.