Lack of options keeps Cartwright at No.6
GOLD Coast coach Garth Brennan has defended his decision to stick with Bryce Cartwright at five-eighth, insisting the Titans have no other options to wear the No. 6 jersey.
Cartwright will start at pivot for the second week when the Titans tackle the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday.
Brennan sent regular five-eighth Kane Elgey to the Intrust Super Cup last week to discover some form following a poor start to the season.
Cartwright, an aspiring backrower, was less than convincing alongside halfback Ash Taylor in last Saturday's 10-9 loss to Cronulla at Cbus Super Stadium.
Brennan took over the Titans from sacked coach Neil Henry late last year, inheriting a roster short on play-making options.
The departure of Jarryd Hayne further crushed the Gold Coast's key position stocks, and Brennan's only other genuine option is untested rookie AJ Brimson, who has played a handful of reserve grade games.
Brennan said he would persist with Cartwright at five-eighth until Elgey was ready to return to the NRL.
"Bryce's best position will be in the back-row, he's not a five-eighth going forward," he said.
"The situation for us at the moment is Kane needs to get some confidence back, that's why he's playing Queensland Cup.
"The simple cold hard facts is there is no other option there to play in the halves apart from Bryce.
"The roster was put together with only two genuine halves in the top 30 being Kane and Ash.
"Injury was going to strike or loss of form and that was going to become an issue for us.
"Kane is in a bit of a form slump and needs to get his confidence back. Bryce is probably our only real option."
At 192cm and 107kg, Cartwright could be a destructive force at five-eighth, however he rarely attempted to break through Cronulla's defence, instead opting to pass at nearly every opportunity.
Brennan said Taylor was also guilty of looking to pass rather than challenge the Sharks defence.
"Bryce went to the line closer than Ash does," he said.
"Ash has probably got to back him up a little bit more and go to the line a little bit more himself.
"That's Bryce getting used to the position he hasn't played for a little while."
On Tuesday Brennan promoted young forward Moeaki Fotuaika to his top 30 and signed Burleigh Bears playmaker Dallas Wells to give the Titans some depth in the halves.
Prop Morgan Boyle is awaiting a specialist's opinion after aggravating a shoulder injury which could end his season, while Will Matthews has to pass a concussion test to make his 100th NRL appearance.
After starting the season with a 3-2 record, the Titans have lost their past three matches and slipped to 12th spot on the ladder.
Brennan said he expected the Titans to be inconsistent this season, and was assessing the make-up of his squad.
"I always thought that would be the sort of year we would have," he said.
"It's a squad that hasn't been put together by myself. There are some guys I'm making decisions on as the year progresses.
"It was always going to be a year like that. It's about a building year. Would I like to be more settled? Absolutely.
"But there are some decisions that need to be made and sometimes it is a bit of chopping and changing to see what the combinations are and what's best for the club going forward."
Fotuaika, a standout for Tweed Heads this season, will travel to Canberra and could make his NRL debut.