Titans hope Cartwright can live up to hype
TITANS coach Garth Brennan is holding out hope Bryce Cartwright can salvage his NRL career after challenging the $2 million flop to show he wants to succeed on the Gold Coast.
Cartwright is expected to make his return from a broken hand in the Intrust Super Cup this weekend after being a late withdrawal from Tweed Heads' clash against Townsville in Hughenden on Sunday.
The erratic 23-year-old hasn't been spotted in the NRL since Round 12 after a series of weak defensive efforts prompted Brennan to axe him.
Cartwright's relegation to reserve grade prompted his management to explore opportunities at other clubs, but the Titans are reluctant to subsidise Cartwright's salary for him to leave.
In his first year as an NRL coach, Brennan went out on a limb to sign Cartwright from Penrith on a lucrative four-year deal and the highly-touted utility is yet to repay his faith.
Brennan said he did not want to punt Cartwright and it was up to him to find form on the Gold Coast.
"The ball is in Bryce's court," Brennan said.
"He needs to work hard, that's the only thing that's going to get him back playing NRL.
"It's up to him if he wants to commit and do the hard work. There are no handouts at our club. You've got to earn the right to your spot.
"We're not shopping him around. I'm still holding out hope that Bryce can turn it around.
"He is saying he wants to turn it around. He wants to work hard and fight hard to get his spot back.
"Here is his chance. It's up to him."
Just days before breaking his hand in a training mishap, Cartwright produced his best game for the Seagulls, running for 177m in a man-of-the-match performance.
It wasn't enough to earn an NRL recall and Brennan said he wanted to see sustained form if he is to promote Cartwright before season's end.
"One good game is not going to make it for him," he said.
"He needs to get back, play some football in the Queensland Cup and we'll see where he goes from there.
"It's up to him now to go back there, work hard and get his spot back. He's got to show me some consistency back there and play some good footy. If you don't earn the right you won't be picked.
"I want him to play that well that he is demanding me to pick him on his performances, not because he's Bryce Cartwright but because he is playing that well that I have to pick him."
Cartwright is unlikely to be catapulted back into the NRL for Sunday's clash with New Zealand at Cbus Super Stadium even if rookie playmaker AJ Brimson is ruled out.
Brimson suffered a heavy head knock in the Gold Coast's disappointing loss to Newcastle last Saturday and will have to undergo concussion protocols this week.
If Brimson is ruled out, it could open the door for out-of-favour five-eighth Kane Elgey to return to first grade.
Elgey, a Gold Coast fan favourite, will not be offered a contract extension by the Titans after last being sighted in the NRL in Round 7 and is in talks to join Canterbury next season.