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No apologies from outspoken Titans

By Laine Clark 15/09/2009 05:54:15 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast boss Michael Searle has made no apologies for the Titans' outspoken approach, dismissing critics who have branded them "whingers" in the fallout of their dramatic NRL qualifying final loss.

Website forums have sunk the boot into the Titans after Gold Coast coach John Cartwright slammed the refereeing following their 40-32 weekend defeat to the Broncos at Skilled Park.

Titans centre Chris Walker also came under fire for insinuating that Broncos and Australian captain Darren Lockyer took a dive to milk a penalty in the second half.

But Searle has taken the criticism with a grain of salt.

"It's Tuesday and the game is still being talked about, it clearly shows what a magnificent event it was," he told AAP.

"Whilst we do not govern by popular opinion, we listen to our fans, and all our fan forums are firmly in our favour."

Searle also strongly defended Cartwright.

While the Titans mentor blasted the referees in the post-match press conference, he was fined by the NRL on Monday for approaching match officials at half-time.

Cartwright has already issued a public apology and revealed he will pay the fine out of his own pocket.

"I expect him to be a passionate coach, I don't want him not commenting at post match press conferences," Searle said.

"If people can't cope with that, then too bad.

"I would rather my coach have an opinion.

"That's what our club is always about.

"We are not concerned about media spin or populous decision making, we just say it how it is - isn't that refreshing?

"Maybe the media should be thanking John Cartwright rather then criticising him.

"Maybe the Brisbane media aren't used to coaches having an opinion.

"When we stop coaches having an opinion, it will be a very sad day for fans and for the news outlets."

Searle said he had higher priorities than sweating on critics' views on other teams' fan forums.

"This is all great stuff for our return bout (with the Broncos) next year but we are more concerned about beating Parramatta," he said.

When reminded that the Gold Coast are still on track to meet Brisbane again in the NRL grand final, Searle laughed: "Maybe that's what the Brisbane media should be talking about - moving the grand final to Queensland (rather) than bagging a coach for offering his opinion."

Meanwhile, Cartwright had a dig at the critics when he assessed the looming forward battle against Parramatta.

The Gold Coast forward pack came under fire ahead of the Broncos showdown, with ex-Brisbane hardman Gorden Tallis claiming they were too small to make a finals impact.

"Most games are won in the forwards and this game will be no different," Cartwright said on Tuesday.

"I thought we more than matched the Broncos.

"They had a lot more ball than us, we ended up missing a lot more tackles than they did.

"To do that against a side of that quality, I think our forwards answered their critics pretty well on the weekend."

Cartwright also kept Parramatta guessing over his final line-up.

William Zillman - back from a four-match ban for biting - was named on an extended bench with Preston Campbell at fullback and injury concern Mat Rogers (concussion) at pivot.

However, Cartwright refused to rule out slotting Zillman into fullback, Campbell into five-eighth and Rogers into the centres.

"We will train with all options then wake up Friday morning then make up our minds," he said.

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