Gold Coast five-eighth Kane Elgey has been dropped in favor of Bryce Cartwright.Gold Coast have dropped playmaker Kane Elgey for his defensive frailties with Bryce Cartwright to pull on the No.6 jersey for Saturday’s NRL clash against Cronulla.
It’s coach Garth Brennan’s first big call of his tenure, dumping his five-eighth to Queensland Cup to work on what he described as deficiencies in his game.
Elgey paid the price for a number of costly one-on-one misses in last week’s loss to North Queensland.
“I explained to him today, he’s aware and understands the areas he needs to work on, mainly defensively and taking more control of the team and working with Ash (Taylor),” Brennan said.
“He get a chance to run the team and get more confidence – I think that’s what Kane needs.”
Brennan denied his decision would affect extension talks with the off-contract playmaker and said he expected him to be back in first grade soon.
“He’s very much part of my plans,” Brennan said.
Cartwright has previously expressed his unwillingness to play five-eighth and desire to stay in the back-row.
Despite Cartwright’s defensive lapses being widely noted, Brennan said the move was best for the team.
“If you go back to the best football Bryce played, when everyone talked about him being close to Origin selection, that was in 2016 and he was playing five-eighth,” Brennan said.
“It’s not a position that’s foreign to him. He’s played NRL as a six and I’m more than confident Bryce will do the job for me.”
The Titans have also dropped winger Tyronne Roberts-Davis with Brendan Elliot to come into the backline.
In some much-needed good news for Cronulla, Wade Graham (hamstring) is back however Luke Lewis (calf) will be missing against the Titans.
In other team news, Connor Watson will make a timely comeback and slot straight into the halves in place of Mitchell Pearce (pec).
As expected, Brisbane named Josh McGuire at No.9 in place of Andrew McCullough (elbow) with Kodi Nikorima to spend time at dummy-half off the bench.
In-form youngster Cameron Murray returns from a hamstring injury and will wear the South Sydney No.13 with Sam Burgess once again suspended.
North Queensland workhorse Shaun Fensom will play his first game since suffering a broken leg during last year’s grand final, replacing John Asiata (pec).
With Jarryd Hayne once again out, Bevan French comes onto the Parramatta wing after recovering from a shoulder problem.
Matthew Wright replaces Manly winger Brad Parker (knee) while Wests Tigers back-rower Chris Lawrence is also back.
Australian Associated Press