AAP Rugby

Titans’ Cartwright seeks NRL redemption

By AAP Newswire

Bryce Cartwright feels like he has a lot of making up to do as he begins again on the Gold Coast this Sunday.

The maligned Penrith recruit was heavily criticised for his efforts at the Titans last season, particularly in defence as he ended the season in reserve grade.

The 24-year-old had to look coach Garth Brennan in the eye and tell him he was serious in the off-season and has since done enough to win a bench spot against Canberra at Robina.

Cartwright credits extra fitness sessions with hooker Nathan Peats for getting him on track, but knows the criticism won't relent until he shows improvement in an NRL game.

"One hundred per cent, I felt like I let them down a lot last year," he said.

"I just wanted to come back to preseason and show them that I can be the player that I know I can.

"Now it's time to do it in a game ... I've had two pretty rocky years with injuries and coming up here (and having a disrupted pre-season).

"But now I'm settled and just looking forward to it and can't wait to play."

Cartwright expects to be injected on the edge, pushing captain Ryan James to the front row in a much simpler role than last year, where he was thrust into the halves at one point when injuries hit.

While comfortable with that scenario, Cartwright's defence will be tested by a new-look Raiders pack that boasts English forwards Ryan Sutton and John Bateman.

The Raiders, featuring Titans recruit Shannon Boyd, rolled right through the middle of the Titans' defence to lead 18-0 after just 12 minutes in the corresponding game last year.

The Titans went on to jag their equal-greatest comeback win, but defensive issues continued to plague them in an 8-16 season.

"We've worked hard enough on it," Brennan said of the side's defence.

"It's another thing that's going to get better as the year goes on ... (but) it's time to stand up and perform."

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Titans have scored 89 tries and 499 points against the Raiders, their most against any club.

* The Raiders will become the fastest club to 20,000 points with six points in what will be their 919th match, beating current fastest Manly (1095 matches) to the milestone.

* The Raiders have the worst NRL record of any current team when playing in Queensland, winning 15 of 47 matches (31.9 per cent) between 1998-2018.