Cartwright rues 'wasted opportunity'
Titans coach John Cartwright has vowed to stop metaphorically circling winnable games on the calendar after describing Sunday's 36-20 loss to the Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium as a wasted opportunity.
Although they trailed by just six points heading into the final quarter of the game, the home side weren't able to find the necessary energy reserves to finish the stronger as the Raiders posted three unanswered tries before Gold Coast winger Kalifa Faifai Loa grabbed a consolation four-pointer after the siren.
The seventh loss at home for the season puts the Titans in the likely position of needing to win six of their final eight games to qualify for the finals and left Cartwright ruing two competition points that they let slip through their fingers.
"We were only in it on the scoreboard to be honest with you. We looked fatigued for pretty much most of the game and that's how we played," he conceded.
"Getting back to 20-14, I'd hoped it was going to lift us and get the crowd involved and build some momentum. But they lifted and they went up another gear and that was the difference.
"We thought six-from-nine; it now becomes six-from-eight so it's very tough. Especially when you look at the draw, that was a winnable game. You look down with 10 games to go and you put a tick against that one and say that's definitely a winnable game and we wasted a huge opportunity."
The Titans travel to Newcastle next Sunday to play a Knights team that has won three games on the trot and in their last five games face the Roosters (a), Sea Eagles (h), Dragons (a), Warriors (a) and Bulldogs (h).
It's a formidable draw by any calculation but Cartwright hasn't given up hope that they can cause some surprises on the run home.
"That will test us but we don't seem to have trouble getting up for those games; maybe we've got to stop looking at winnable games," Cartwright said of the imposing schedule.
"Very hard to get your head around but when you sit back and I know what I'll be thinking in three or four days' time, it's just consistency at that level. You've just got to play consistent every week with your effort and preparation and the good sides have more blokes that do it regularly, it's as simple as that."
Gold Coast look as though they will be without fullback William Zillman next weekend due to a hamstring injury while Albert Kelly's knock to the knee is not believed to be serious.
David Mead is likely to need another week at least to get over the hamstring injury that kept him out of the loss to the Raiders but Cartwright indicated a return for Kelly to the starting team is more likely to come in the halves than at fullback.
"We're a little bit skinny in the halves, too," Cartwright said when asked about Kelly's prospects of being named in the No.1 jumper after he played the last portion of the game at fullback.
"I wasn't totally happy with the halves today or the performance in general but we don't have a lot of options there."