Bryce Cartwright gets rid of the ball. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Bryce Cartwright gets rid of the ball. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Brennan backs Carty despite demotion

TITANS coach Garth Brennan insists Bryce Cartwright is not on the outer after axing the big-money Gold Coast recruit to the bench for Sunday's derby against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Just a month into his premiership campaign, Cartwright has hit turbulent waters at his new club, with the former Panther relegated to interchange in the wake of last week's 54-8 drubbing by the Dragons.

But Brennan rallied in support of Cartwright, admitting he is to blame for asking the utility to play a new tactical role at the Titans before he was ready for its demands.

Traditionally an edge player, Cartwright has been shifted by Brennan into the midfield and he has felt the pinch, missing a game-high six tackles in the Dragons mauling in Toowoomba.

Brennan says Cartwright needs time to find his feet at the Titans and believes dropping him to the bench can help the 23-year-old gradually learn his coach's tactical plan.

"After three weeks in the starting side, I think Bryce needs a freshen up off the bench," Brennan said.

"It was probably a but unfair on Bryce to throw him in like I did.

"Combine that with picking him in at five-eighth against the Warriors (following halfback Ash Taylor's late withdrawal due to injury), and I haven't done the right thing by Bryce since he's been here.

Bryce Cartwright played in the halves for the Titans against the Warriors.
Bryce Cartwright played in the halves for the Titans against the Warriors.

 

"The workload is phenomenal in the middle and he wasn't ready for it. In an ideal world, I wanted to ease him in, but he's been thrown in the deep end because of some injuries and suspensions.

"By having him on the bench, I can ease him into the game and get him into the squad the way I wanted to in the first place."

The Titans will be boosted by the return from injury of forwards Will Matthews and Max King, while Brennan is backing struggling pivot Kane Elgey to lift against Broncos rival Anthony Milford in the M1 derby.

Rising forward Keegan Hipgrave will miss the derby showdown with his former Broncos club due to suspension.

The Titans need Cartwright to produce some punch off the bench to counter Brisbane's rotation and Brennan is adamant the former under-20s star will deliver at the Coast.

"I believe in him, but we have to be patient with him," he said.

"He's only 23, everyone talks about Ash Taylor being young but Bryce is only 12 months older.

"He has enormous amount of talent but he is still only a baby and still learning the rigours of week in, week out football.

"Getting him back to his best will take some time."