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Titans back-rower Bryce Cartwright.

Garth Brennan will ignore the odd flick pass that goes astray - it’s the willingness to put his body on the line that the Titans coach needs to see most from Bryce Cartwright.

Setting new PBs in skin-fold tests means nothing if you don't put it into action on the field but Cartwright showed enough in Saturday night's 22-16 trial loss to the Cowboys to suggest there will be effort to go with the extraordinary.

With his opening touch Cartwright popped a ball to centre Brenko Lee and very nearly created a try-scoring opportunity and later provided the tap-back pass on the inside for Jesse Arthars to score the Titans' opening try.

A flick pass that was intercepted by Cowboys winger Murray Taulagi with the line wide open and a simple miss for Te Maire Martin to score will have Cartwright's critics howling, but there was no question he was far more engaged defensively than he was during the 2018 season.

He produced a strong tackle down low to quickly stop the dangerous Gideon Gela-Mosby and on a number of occasions came up with repeat efforts in defence.

Given his size, simple carries from inside his side's half attract two and three defenders and he is next to impossible to stop close to the line.

Titans back-rower Bryce Cartwright.
Titans back-rower Bryce Cartwright. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

A committed Bryce Cartwright adds a completely new dimension to the Titans and Brennan hopes that's what he's going to get in 2019.

"He's been working hard. Obviously that lack of concentration cost us a try on the inside shoulder with Te Maire so he needs to be better at that," Brennan said.

"But I thought he was willing to put his body into contact; he was looking for work.

"The flick pass, that's Bryce Cartwright. Sometimes they come off and sometimes they don't.

"Hopefully he'll be a bit more selective with his passes but I think defensively he showed signs that he's wanting to get into the contact which is pleasing."

Like most off-the-cuff moments that Cartwright can produce, Lee wasn't expecting the offload in the opening minute but believes that unpredictability makes the Titans a far more dangerous prospect.

"It's exciting. I think even he doesn't know what he's doing," Lee said of playing outside Cartwright.

"With the one he popped out at the start of the game I was shocked, I was just trying to focus on catching the ball. It came out of nowhere but that's Bryce Cartwright. He's very talented with the footy and he can do anything.

"It's awesome having him on our edge and in our team actually. He gives the other team nightmares when he's at his prime."

Titans captain Ryan James (knee injury) is a definite non-starter in the final trial against the Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium next Saturday and remains in some doubt for round one against Canberra on March 17.

Titans hooker Mitch Rein.
Titans hooker Mitch Rein. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

It could open the door for Cartwright to be chosen in the starting side but Brennan will wait until James is definitely out of the equation before considering a replacement on the left edge.

"I thought he was good tonight and I thought Will Matthews was really good out there," Brennan said of his starting back-rowers.

"He's another one who comes into the equation if Ryan isn't right but I spoke to Ryan this afternoon and asked him how he's feeling and I think he's planning to run on Monday.

"He won't play the Broncos trial but we’ve still got another three weeks before round one so I'm fairly confident [James] will be right for that.

"If not, I'll worry about that when it gets to it."

With halfback Ash Taylor confident of playing against Brisbane, James and Keegan Hipgrave are likely to be the only players not considered for the clash with the Broncos.

Given how an inexperienced side aimed up against a Cowboys team with plenty of seasoned first-graders, Lee says they can carry forward plenty of confidence from the first hit-out of the year.

"I think we can take a lot of confidence out of it," Lee said.

"We've worked hard for the last three or four months and for us to have a lot of our boys off the field and for them to have a lot of boys who are in massive contention to play first grade this year, I thought we did awesome.

"It wasn't about winning or losing for us, it was just about focusing on our little goals that we had personally.

"I thought as a whole squad we achieved that well and we're looking really good to go onto the Broncos and the Raiders in round one."

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