AAP Rugby

Titan Cartwright proud of defensive lift

By AAP Newswire

Gold Coast backrower Bryce Cartwright's improved defence is a point of pride for the much-maligned Titan this season.

Cartwright made 38 tackles last time out against the Warriors in an effort that earnt post-match praise from coach Garth Brennan.

It's part of a wider trend in Cartwright's game, highlighting how much he's improved in his second year on the Gold Coast.

In 2018, Cartwright's sloppy defence was a key part in his slump from big-name recruit to Queensland Cup player.

The ex-Penrith player averaged just 12 tackles a game in his 14 appearances for the Titans in 2018.

That tally is up to 26.7 a game in 2019, including a 40-tackle game against Cronulla in round nine and the 38 he made against the Warriors in round 14.

"It's funny. When I first came to the NRL, if I did 40 tackles, I wouldn't think anything of it," Cartwright told AAP.

"I'd be more worried about setting up tries and stuff like that.

"Coming off the field after making a load of tackles, it's more rewarding than anything I reckon.

"Just knowing that you've worked hard for your teammates. That's probably the best thing out on the field that I can feel."

After his year to forget in 2018, Cartwright has gone a long way to salvaging his NRL reputation this year.

He's played in 13 matches, only missing the win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium due to illness.

He's still a long way from the Panthers youngster who was part of emerging NSW squad in 2016, but Cartwright says he's enjoying his time at the Titans after such a difficult start.

"One bad game led to another, and the papers and everyone were saying things and I think it just all impacted on me," Cartwright said.

"I knew if I turned up here every day in pre-season and trained my ass off, I'd set a good base for myself and I think I'm feeling that now.

"Some of the hard work's paying off ... I've still got a whole lot more to improve on and I just want to keep doing better each week."