Cartwright just can’t find his groove. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Cartwright just can’t find his groove. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Bryce Cartwright isn’t finished, yet

TITANS coach Garth Brennan insists Bryce Cartwright has a future at the club despite axing his big-name recruit just 10 games into his Gold Coast career.

In the latest blow for Cartwright, released by Penrith three months ago, the key off-season purchase has been dumped for Saturday's clash against Newcastle at Cbus Super Stadium.

Cartwright has been named 18th man and his only hope of taking on the Knights hinges on the availability of back-rower Kevin Proctor, who faces a fitness test with a groin injury.

The 23-year-old was hoping a move to the Gold Coast could reignite his flagging NRL career, but Brennan believes some tough love is required after a string of below-par performances.

Brennan, however, is adamant he hasn't turned his back on Cartwright, who has signed a four-year deal, and hopes some time out of the NRL pressure-cooker can rebuild the ball-playing utility's confidence.

"We aren't giving up on Bryce," said Brennan, who has also dropped Kane Elgey and Konrad Hurrell in the past month.

"No player likes to get put out of the team. He is disappointed he is not in the 17, but I have to do what is best for the player and the club and Bryce is down on confidence.

"He is struggling and players go through periods like that. It happens throughout a player's career.

"Canberra recently put Blake Austin and Josh Papalii in NSW Cup and now Josh is back (in the NRL) with a chance of playing Origin.

"Sometimes it takes going back to (reserve grade) to get the confidence to bring our their best.

"Bryce, Koni and Kane are quality footballers and I'm confident they will all bounce back."

 

Brennan says Cartwright’s confidence is shot. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
Brennan says Cartwright’s confidence is shot. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)

Brennan said Cartwright has been stung by recent criticism of his form and will only issue him an NRL reprieve this week if Proctor succumbs to injury.

"If Kevvie doesn't make it, Bryce is one guy I will consider coming into the squad," he said.

"Bryce is human, he's not sheltered from the criticism and from the conversation I had with him, he takes is personally, no one like being criticised.

"It's up to us to support him, but this (his demotion) puts a warning shot to the other players that you have to perform or your spot is in jeopardy."

In a boost for the Titans, ironman lock Jai Arrow and NSW Origin hooker Nathan Peats will return from rib injuries.

"It's a massive plus having Nathan and Jai coming back into the team," Brennan said.

"They are quality footballers and will only strengthen our squad."

 

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