A brutally honest Bryce Cartwright says the 2019 version of the Gold Coast Titans would have lost Saturday’s trial against the Broncos “40-10 or something like that” after falling behind 16-0 early in the match at Redcliffe.
Instead, the new Titans of 2020 stood tall. They not only worked their way back into the match, but buried the Broncos with 28 unanswered points to take a confidence-building 28-22 into the start of the season proper.
Cartwright was among a bevy of Titans to impress against the Broncos, producing effective plays in attack and defence on his preferred position of right edge.
He set up a try for winger Anthony Don with a series of four powerful fends on Broncos defenders, before laying on a sweet flick pass for centre Kallum Watkins, who put Don away.
Cartwright said the new attitude of the Titans under coach Justin Holbrook was evident by the way they didn’t simply surrender the trial when the Broncos skipped away with three tries in the first 23 minutes of the game.
“I think last year when we were in that position, at 16-0, we probably would have faded out of the game,” Cartwright said. “It could have ended up 40-10 or something like that.
“But we stuck in there and worked hard, got through our sets and ended up with the result.
“That is what we are looking to do this year – not fade out of games. If we do end up behind, just fight back into it and get the win.”
Despite piling on the points with five tries in 25 minutes either side of halftime, Cartwright said the Gold Coast’s attack still had plenty to improve upon before meeting the Raiders in Round 1.
“It was the little areas that we worked well in,” he said. “I can’t remember how many times we kept them inside their 40. (Brisbane) were kicking from there, so we were really pleased with that.
“We didn’t execute really well (in attack), to get our plays on. So to score 28 points without doing that very well was pretty pleasing as well.”
Holbrook Pleased With Win
Cartwright said he is feeling more at home after swapping sides with backrow partner Kevin Proctor in the off-season, allowing the prodigiously talented Cartwright to play his natural game and work on an impressive right-side combination with Don, Watkins and half Ash Taylor.
“I felt really comfortable. I played there growing up, and it is definitely my preferred side,” Cartwright said.
“I have trained there the whole pre-season with Ash, Kal and Donny, and I think we are building a really good combination.
“I thought we went really good (against the Broncos). We worked really hard on the effort areas.
“(Taylor’s) confidence is booming. He is really in control, he doesn’t seem fazed out there at all. He is getting his head in the tackle, he is working hard, doing all the little things.
“He hasn’t missed too many sessions either. We have been building a really good combination, and looking forward to the year ahead.”