iSelect Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright is rapt with the concept, but disappointed with the way his team limped out of the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
The Titans won one of their three outings in the exciting, abridged version of the game. The telling blow for the Gold Coast came in today’s final pool round encounter, a 30-14 loss to NRL round one opponents, the Cronulla Sharks.
“I was disappointed with the enthusiasm level,’’ Cartwright said of the Sharks game.
“Especially in the first half. You don’t get much of a chance in nines with just nine minutes per half. This was a chance to go through to the quarters and I am really disappointed we didn’t progress.
“These games can be a bit of a lottery, but that last game wasn’t. We started off the bit and found it really hard to get back into the game.
“There were too many one-on-one misses. Structurally we were OK, but you just can’t cover for missed tackles and missed tackles are generally a sign of the attitude not quite being there. Why that is we will have a chat about it.
“But we won’t read too much into it.”
The Titans debuted into the tournament with a slick 22-7 win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday. However they then fell away to a 25-14 loss to the Knights before today’s exit via the Sharks.
Although Cartwright said the Nines tournament offered little from a 13-a-side perspective, there were opportunities offered across the two-day carnival.
“Football-wise we weren’t expecting to take a lot out of this weekend, but it was an opportunity for us as a club to do well in the competition,’’ he said.
“There was a lot of prizemoney on offer, which would have helped the club no end. We are disappointed.
“Now we just have to get the injuries right for the Cowboys trial next week. That is an important one for us.”
The only injury casualty for the Titans from the weekend was Dave Taylor, whose badly corked leg kept him out of action in the third game.
Cartwright is hoping to take a squad of 20 to 22 his best available players to Toowoomba for Saturday night’s trial against the Cowboys.
“We will get as close to our best side against the Cowboys,” he said.
“That is our final hit-out. I was really impressed with Warriors trial, then we have to be ready for the Sharks in round one.”
Cartwright said the inaugural Auckland Nines were a winner.
“I think it is a great concept,’’ he said.
“To be here and experience it you can see how the whole town has come to life and it has exposed the game to a new audience.
“As far as a concept and an idea it was fantastic.”