Cartwright hits back at critics
TITANS forward Bryce Cartwright has hit out at his detractors, claiming savage criticism of his form isn't warranted and he is determined to succeed at the Gold Coast.
Cartwright has been demoted to 18th man for Saturday's home game against Newcastle following a slow start to his career at the Titans.
The 23-year-old has been criticised heavily by the likes of Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga, Queensland legend Gorden Tallis and former NSW Origin hooker Michael Ennis, who claimed Cartwright was "taking the piss" at the Titans.
There were signs of improvement in Cartwright's defence in last Saturday's loss to Melbourne until he inexplicably failed to attempt to tackle Cameron Munster close to the tryline.
That weak effort was the final straw for coach Garth Brennan, but Cartwright could earn a reprieve with Kevin Proctor (groin) and Jack Stockwell (concussion) in doubt for the Knights clash at Cbus Super Stadium.
Speaking for the first time following Ennis' stinging assessment, Cartwright said he had grown used to criticism during his 79-game NRL career.
"It's nothing new to me, I've always been criticised," he said.
"I do my best to block it out. Sometimes it's hard but I've got a great support base. The people here are awesome and look after me.
"I put my head down and work hard."
When asked if the criticism was warranted, Cartwright said: "Not at all. I do my best and I work hard.
"No one sees how much I work behind the scenes. That's why it doesn't bother me.
"I worry about my family's opinion, my teammates and the Titans club. It doesn't really bother me."
Brennan has shifted Cartwright between lock, five-eighth and the back-row during his 10 games this season.
After being released by Penrith to join the Gold Coast on the eve of the season, it was always going to be tough for the supremely talented Cartwright to flourish in his first year at the Titans.
However, the nature of his defensive efforts, which included missing seven tackles against Canberra, has been a concern and prompted the most criticism.
"Of course, it's always somewhere where I've not been the best at," Cartwright said when asked if he had to improve his defence.
"I work on it every day. I watch video and practice. I've got to keep working on it and fix it.
"I'm pretty comfortable out on the edge in the second row. Hopefully I can keep my spot there and in the near future push for a starting spot.
"I need consistency, run the ball hard, not make errors or miss tackles. I need to get back to the basic things and keep improving each week."
Brennan, in his first season as an NRL coach, showed faith in Cartwright despite multiple poor efforts during the Gold Coast's five-game losing streak.
He may get a reprieve against the Knights if Stockwell or Proctor are ruled out and said he was determined to show Brennan he was worthy of an NRL berth at the Titans.
"We've got a great relationship," Cartwright said.
"I love it here. It's so relaxed and the people are so nice. Everyone is so positive around you.
"My partner and I love it here with our son. I can't speak highly enough of everyone here.
"When I was down at Penrith in pre-season training I was jumping through positions. It's a bit hard when you can't practice in one spot.
"We've got some great backrowers here in Will Matthews and Kevvie Proctor who has been a real help to me, he is a great guy and player. I stick around those blokes and keep learning off them.
"I try and play as much good footy as I can."
Proctor was a spectator for most of Wedneday's training session but is determined to face the Knights.
Former Maroons Origin legend Trevor Gillmeister also made an appearance to conduct a short defensive session as Brennan looks for ways to turn around the 15th-placed Gold Coast's inconsistent defence.