Brennan wants Cartwright to get smarter
BRYCE Cartwright's Gold Coast honeymoon is over with coach Garth Brennan challenging the under fire back-rower to get "smarter" to have any hope of resurrecting his flagging NRL career at the Titans.
Cartwright's mercurial ways were typified against the Cowboys on Saturday night during an 11-minute period in which he set up a try, then committed two woeful schoolboy errors in the Titans' 22-16 trial defeat.
In the 15th minute, Cartwright had a glorious chance to open the scoring, but instead of using his 106kg frame to crash over, he turned lair, producing a risky around-the-back flick pass that was intercepted by the Cowboys.
From the ensuring set, the Cowboys made Cartwright pay, with North Queensland playmaker Jake Clifford slicing through to open the scoring.
Cartwright atoned in the 23rd minute when he threw a superb inside ball for fullback Jesse Arthars to touch down, but just three minutes later, he was in the bad books again as Te Maire Martin brushed off a feeble attempted tackle to give the Cowboys a 10-6 lead.
The 24-year-old troubled the Cowboys at times with some handy runs and offloads, but Brennan admits Cartwright can ill-afford fundamental errors as he looks to recover from a nightmare maiden season at the Titans in 2018.
"He had a mixed night," Brennan said.
"The flick pass ... that's Bryce Cartwright isn't it?
"Sometimes it comes off, sometimes they don't.
"He just needs to be smarter and more selective with that stuff ... and the one-on-one miss where Te Maire scored, he just needs to make those tackles.
"But the pleasing side is he was looking for the contact and looking for the work and that can only build his confidence."
Touted as the Titans' marquee recruit last year, Cartwright went from match-winner to reserve grader.
He played just 14 games and was axed by Brennan to the Intrust Super Cup after some shocking defensive efforts that raised queries over his commitment as a professional footballer.
Titans insiders say Cartwright has worked harder in pre-season and Brennan is determined to balance his natural skill with better tactical decision-making.
"That's what Bryce needs to fix," Brennan said.
"Look, I don't want to harness Bryce too much because that's what can make him so special, he can do things with the ball that no-one else can do.
"But he has to be a bit more selective. He had a try-scoring opportunity that went missing from a flick pass which wasn't needed.
"It's just a confidence thing with him and the more he gets in and puts himself in there the better he will be."
The Titans showed signs of promise with young forwards Max King and Moeaki Fotuaika running strongly, while centre Brenko Lee was a handful out wide.