Proctor's glowing praise for new teammate
HE'S played with and against the big three, in grand finals and Tests, but it's a 23-year-old who has Kevin Proctor excited in 2017.
While the hype on the Gold Coast has revolved around Ash Taylor, it's Kane Elgey who Proctor's buzzing about.
Elgey only made his NRL debut in 2015, playing that season before missing last year due to an ACL injury suffered during the pre-season.
After returning to training in January following the his extended layoff, Elgey immediately caught Proctor's eye.
The star recruit is impressed by the half and says Elgey will be a special player.
However there's still a lot of work to be done in an area Cooper Cronk excels at before Elgey can be mentioned in the same conversation.
"Kane Elgey is going to be a good little player," Proctor told foxsports.com.au.
"He's quite switched on for a young fella his age and his position too. Over the years he'll be really good.
"He just needs to talk up a little bit more. He's a quieter halfback. The skill and the way he competes at training is really good. I see a heap of potential in him."
Having spent the past nine years playing alongside the game's premier halfback Cronk, Proctor knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed as an NRL playmaker.
Proctor admits he sees certain Cronk traits in Elgey but the youngster has a few tools the Test star doesn't.
"Coops is pretty loud and pretty direct. If he gets his talk up (he could be like Cronk)," he said when comparing Elgey to Cronk.
"Kane is a little bit off the cuff too and Coops is more structured. He doesn't really like to go outside of his comfort zone with that sort of stuff. He likes to stick to the game plan and that's what works for Melbourne and him.
"Kane's got a bit of that in him but has ad-lib in him as well. He's got some similarities."
Since leaving the Storm for a long-term deal with the Titans at the end of last year, Proctor's transition to the glitter strip has been a bumpy ride.
An MCL injury during a training mishap set his pre-season into a spin but he'll take the field against the Roosters on March 4 when the Titans kick off their season at home.
"It was a bad tackle," he explained. "He got the knee in the wrong spot and he probably shouldn't have dived. It was an accident. Those things happen.
"It was a four to six week injury and it's (five) weeks now. I'd like to strap it all year now just as a precaution."
Proctor is expected to be named co-captain alongside Ryan James this week with his leadership qualities a major factor in why he was brought to the club.
As part of the pitch from coach Neil Henry, Proctor said the plan was to "lead some of the young guys around and try and show them some of the cultures that we had in Melbourne".
James was a name brought up during that conversation, with the forward ready to take the next step in his career as he pushes for representative honours this year.
The other part of the pitch was influencing the club's culture.
"It's that tight bond everyone has together and you get that through training together," Proctor explained.
"It starts at training with discipline. Getting everyone to do the little one-percenters and teaching the young guys that the one-percenters make your team. They help your team out so much.
"I'll try and teach them how to get into a good routine, your diet, life outside of footy.
"You have to get an even balance so you don't wear yourself out. If I can bring that to some of the younger guys, that'll help us a lot."