NSW under-20s representative Brian Kelly had recovered well from last night’s State of Origin curtain-raiser and is right to take his place in the Gold Training Titans NYC side to play St George Illawarra tomorrow.
Jed Cartwright (pictured) had six days in camp with the Blues too and although, as 18th man, he didn’t play he says he benefitted from the experience and can’t wait to get on the field at WIN Jubilee Stadium.
It has been a frustrating season for the skipper who has successfully switched from centre to back row this season. His ball-playing at times has been akin to his father John Cartwright’s time at Penrith in the 1990s but several concussions and a shoulder injury has restricted him to 12 games, and in five of those he was unable to finish.
“It was a tribute to his form when he has played that he made the 18-man NSW squad and it would certainly give him more confidence,” said coach Ben Woolf.
“But I know he wants to string some games together and finish the season strongly and lead the team.
“This is a good test for us. Saints haven’t been beaten since we knocked them over in round seven.
“Our defence was tremendous against the Warriors in our last game. They made three errors the whole match and had quite a few repeat sets but we led until two minutes to go.
“Our challenge is to repeat that defensive effort and do it consistently for 80 minutes, but we expect the Dragons to throw more at us than the Warriors; they’re a very good side.”
Indeed, the Dragons have won eight matches and had a draw since the Titans won the round seven clash 39-32. In that match the Titans led 22-0 after just 18 minutes before the Dragons struck back to 22-all at half-time. The Gold Coast held on in the final minutes.
The team to play the Dragons is:
1- Brian Kelly
2- Tyronne Roberts-Davis
3- Phillip Sami
4- Christian Mika
5- Fred Keil
6- Josh Ralph
7- AJ Brimson
8- Max King
9- Jordan Scott
10- Nathan Watts
11- Simione Fatafehi
12- Jed Cartwright (capt)
13- Apiata Noema-Matenga
14 – Corey Manicaros
15 – Kelepi Faukafa
16 – Justin Fai
18 – Josh Rogers