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Cartwright concern at Origin schedule

NSW Origin and Gold Coast Titans star Greg Bird. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos

Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright has urged the NRL not to abandon possible changes to the structure of the State of Origin schedule in future after it was confirmed the 2014 Series would again be played out over an eight-week period.

The NRL's head of football, Todd Greenberg, had previously discussed the possibility of tightening the Origin schedule from eight weeks down to six but that clearly is now on hold with the announcement Origin matches will be played on May 28, June 18 and July 9 next year.

Cartwright expressed his disappointment that the status quo remained.

"It's a tough period of the year for everyone but I'd assumed they were going to tighten it up," Cartwright told NRL.com. "A two-week break I think would be a lot better. It's a long period of the season and I think it's detrimental to all clubs.

"Origin is a big part of the game but the clubs pay these boys and it's just a big chunk out of the year. You don't get a lot out of them during that period and it's pretty much a nine-week period."

Titans representative stars Greg Bird and Nate Myles have played 29 and 25 games respectively since the NRL season started on March 7 and Cartwright has concerns that with a limited pre-season the workload will begin to take its toll.

"When you consider that they have only just finished playing now, they'll get their six weeks off but the average player gets three months off and then we expect them to double up through the season," he said.

"I really hoped they were going to do what they said they were going to do and shorten up the time between games but it is what it is.

"The big thing is injuries. If you're injury-free you can often give the guys a rest but if you're carrying injuries and you're desperate then sometimes it forces your hand."

Cartwright welcomed the move to limit day games during the early stages of the season but will view the release of the draw on Wednesday with interest to gauge the turnaround times between games for the Titans during the season.

"There are averages on turnaround times and percentages of winning on long turnarounds compared to short turnarounds and you can't argue with the fact that the shorter the turnaround the harder it is to win.  It's proven by the percentages that come out every year," Cartwright said.

He added that a minimum six-day turnaround for sides including the Warriors and the Cowboys that did the most travelling over long distances would be ideal.

"You've got to feel for sides like the Warriors and the Cowboys... in a perfect world it would be nice if we could get that."

The full draw for the 2014 NRL season will be announced on NRL.com on Wednesday.

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