Gold Coast Titans lock Bryce Cartwright.

He set up a try with a magic flick pass but it was his tough runs and key defensive plays that had Gold Coast Titans coach Garth Brennan declaring star forward Bryce Cartwright had taken a "real step forward" during the 32-20 win over the Manly Sea Eagles in Gladstone.

Cartwright, who also played at centre in the second half due to an injury to Dale Copley, impressed with the way he took the defensive line on with vigour and the desperation he showed when defending.

The former Panther missed a tackle on the elusive Brian Kelly in the second half but then raced back towards his tryline and, in a last-ditch effort, saved a certain try.

"Bryce just did his job, carried the ball and got down and played the ball a few times," Brennan said.

"He wasn't looking for the offload all the time ... but set up a try with a nice little offload which he is more than capable of doing.

"I thought he defended really well with that one-on-one tackle on [Daly] Cherry-Evans in the first half and then with that miss [on Kelly], where he ran back hard and saved the day for the team.

"He is a work in progress but I am really happy and I think he took a real step forward today."

Titans lock Jai Arrow had another blockbuster game and captain Ryan James was high in his praise of the former Bronco.

"He was the best on field and probably has been the best on field for the first five rounds," James said.

"He has come from the Broncos where he was on the bench to start for us and play long minutes and is up there with some of the better locks in the comp at the moment."

The Titans led 22-8 at one stage and let Manly back in the game with several lapses but they were the best team and deserved their win.

"I would have been really disappointed if the boys didn’t get the result," Brennan said.

"I thought we were the better team. They made it hard for themselves in the second half no doubt but there were some gutsy performances after losing Dale Copley in the second half and having Bryce out in the centres.

"There are a lot of guys you could single out and the performance showed how hard they are working for each other which is what I am really pleased about."