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Coach’s massive round one promise for Titans recruit

Jai Arrow has impressed coach Garth Brennan greatly during pre-season training.
Jai Arrow has impressed coach Garth Brennan greatly during pre-season training.

Jai Arrow will be in the Gold Coast Titans team in round one against the Raiders.

That's the guarantee Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan has given despite the arrival of Bryce Cartwright last week casting doubt over Arrow's place in the team.

Cartwright had been on the Gold Coast for less than 24 hours before he assumed the lock forward position at pre-season training, the position Arrow seemed certain to fill following his off-season switch from the Broncos.

Brennan wants to give Cartwright a roving commission to play both sides of the ruck and through the middle, a role far removed from the one the industrious Arrow would have performed in his place.

Known for his fitness and high workrate, Arrow has played 12 NRL games for the Broncos in each of the past two seasons and moved south to the Gold Coast to secure a regular place in the starting side.

The unexpected arrival of Cartwright from the Panthers last week immediately placed Arrow's position in jeopardy but Brennan told foxsports.com.au that the 22-year-old has done everything required to earn a spot in Brennan's round one team.

Bryce Cartwright slotted straight in at lock forward in his first training session with the Titans last Friday. Photo: Gold Coast Titans
Bryce Cartwright slotted straight in at lock forward in his first training session with the Titans last Friday. Photo: Gold Coast Titans
 

"It doesn't affect Jai Arrow one little bit," Brennan said of Cartwright joining the team.

"Jai Arrow is probably been my standout trainer, my standout player for the whole pre-season.

"Jai Arrow will be in my team somewhere I can guarantee you that.

"I love him, and you can quote me on that.

"He's trained the house down, he's done everything right.

"There'll be no issue about Jai Arrow finding a spot in my team."

Finding a place for both Arrow and Cartwright will be easier for Brennan in the opening rounds as he juggles a forward pack that could be missing four prop forwards due to suspension and injury.

Giant 21-year-old Morgan Boyle is the latest on the injured list after heavy contact at training not only resulted in a cut to the head but the resulting fall to the ground causing a partial dislocation of the shoulder.

Titans medical staff remain confident they can rehab the injury in time for round one but Brennan said he won't be rushed back until he has recovered completely.

With Jarrod Wallace and Keegan Hipgrave both suspended for round one and Jack Stockwell tracking for a return from shoulder surgery in the first month of the season, Brennan will be required to get creative in the middle third of the field.

Titans pair Max King and Jai Arrow will have to wrestle some monsters of a different kind come round one. Photo: Glenn Hampson
Titans pair Max King and Jai Arrow will have to wrestle some monsters of a different kind come round one. Photo: Glenn Hampson

Captain-elect Ryan James has been training on the left edge all summer but could shift back into the front row in the early rounds while second-year front-rower Max King could also earn an early shot.

"It's possible, that's something that we've got up our sleeve," Brennan said of James starting the season in the middle.

"There are some other options there I might have, moving certain guys into that middle role more so than an edge but Ryan can do that, I know he can do that.

"I'm fairly confident in the stocks we've got. Jack Stockwell's flying at the moment, his rehab is coming along really, really well.

"He won't make round one but he could come back earlier than a month into the season. He's flying at the moment which is really promising.

"It's not ideal having 'J Wal' (Wallace) and Keegan Hipgrave suspended but you've got Maxy King who did a fantastic job there last year.

"Jai Arrow can push up there and do a little bit of a job if Bryce does play that 13 role and then you've got 'Dark' (James) as well."

Topics:  garth brennan gold coast titans jai arrow nrl nrl2018