New Manly five-eighth Kane Elgey admits he has to help ease the pressure on captain Daly Cherry-Evans by taking a greater share of the play-making duties after the Sea Eagles 20-6 loss to Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday night.
Manly coach Des Hasler identified the superior kicking game of Tigers halves Luke Brooks and Benji Marshall as one of the main differences between the two teams but was confident the combination of Cherry-Evans and Elgey would be more effective as they get used to playing with each other.
Whereas Marshall and Brooks shared the responsibility at the end of sets, with eight kicks apiece, Cherry-Evans kicked the ball 10 times compared with four by Elgey.
Cherry Evans also had 46 possessions compared with 24 for Elgey, and the Tigers defence knew which side of the ruck the ball was likely to go to when Manly were on the attack.
"Cherry had a lot of pressure on him and I think I have to stand up," Elgey said. "I was a bit shy out there and I think I have to stand up and be the No.6 so if I get a chance next week I will have to back myself.
"Chez did a good job and I just need to play off the back of him and I think he will play a lot better.
"I can’t pinpoint one thing, I have just got to work on confidence and it should come. I have just got to change my mind game."
Elgey joined Manly this year from Gold Coast and is still developing combinations with Cherry-Evans and hooker Api Koroisau, while star fullback Tom Trbojevic is sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Hasler said he would work with Elgey to build his confidence and help develop his combination with Cherry-Evans ahead of next weekend’s clash with premiers Sydney Roosters at Lottoland.
"I know they were disappointed with some of the finishes to our sets but it is a combination that we have continue to work on," Hasler said.
"I think young Elgey has got to learn to back himself more. That is a confidence thing and it is something we will work on."
Besides Manly’s kicking game, Hasler was disappointed by the second half ball control as the Sea Eagles completed just 24 sets compared with 33 by the Tigers.
"It's great to defend back-to-back sets but we didn't manage our time in possession and 24 sets with the ball just isn't going to get it done," Hasler said.
"Because of that weight of possession you just give them field position and tries come off ricochets and repeat sets.
"Their kicking game was really strong. Defensively I thought we put in really well but they were much more disciplined with the ball in the second half."