Bryce Cartwright has been under fire after a string of poor performances.
Bryce Cartwright has been under fire after a string of poor performances.

Meninga joins criticism of Titans star

AUSTRALIA coach Mal Meninga believes Gold Coast player Bryce Cartwright needs a stint in reserve grade in order to discover his love of the game again.

Cartwright's had a disappointing start to his time at the Titans after moving from Penrith in the off-season on a hefty four-year deal.

The criticism of the backrower reached it's peak on Monday when Fox League expert and ex-NRL star Michael Ennis suggested Cartwright had been "taking the piss" and that he was nowhere near NRL standard.

Titans coach Garth Brennan agreed with Ennis' comments, saying: "I don't think it's unfair; I've got a lot of respect for Michael Ennis, he's a great judge of the game and players and I don't think he's too far wrong."

 

 

Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga believes Bryce Cartwright needs to rediscover his love of the game. (Pic: AAP)
Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga believes Bryce Cartwright needs to rediscover his love of the game. (Pic: AAP)

After playing mostly on the bench this season, Cartwright was promoted to the halves in round eight in favour of Kane Elgey who was dropped to reserve grade after also having a slow start to the year.

But for the Titans' game against Melbourne on Saturday, Cartwright's back on the bench with rookie playmaker AJ Brimson getting his shot at five-eighth.

"I don't know whether he's taking the piss or not but he's not playing with a lot of confidence," Meninga said when asked about Cartwright on Tuesday.

"His attitude seems to be poor because he's missing a lot of tackles.

"He played really well for Garth Brennan in reserve grade, maybe that's where he should go to find that love of the game again and then come back."

Bryce Cartwright has struggled for form at the Titans.
Bryce Cartwright has struggled for form at the Titans.

Hodges, who coached Brimson in the Queensland under 20s last year, backed Brennan's latest move and questioned whether Cartwright even wanted to be playing football.

"At the moment Bryce Cartwright's not doing the job," Hodges said.

"For whatever reason he doesn't seem like he's interested in playing football, I can't work out what's doing up there.

"I think AJ Brimson is a great replacement because he's young.

"He's going to bring a lot of enthusiasm, he's going to bring energy and that's something the Gold Coast Titans really need at the moment.

"With his running game and his kicking game, he's a left-footer, he can add so much more to that football side.

"He's a guy who wants to play, he's a guy who wants to make his first grade debut so why not give him an opportunity."

Hodges also echoed Meninga's thoughts on Cartwright spending time in the Intrust Super Cup.

"He just needs to find his passion for the game again," he said.

"A couple of years ago at Penrith he was unbelievable, the stuff he was doing was pretty freakish and you can't lose that.

"He's got that in him to do that he just needs to find that form and find out why he's playing the game for."