Inglis saga no distraction: Cartwright - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Inglis saga no distraction: Cartwright

By Laine Clark 05/08/2010 04:52:18 PM Comments (0)

The ongoing Greg Inglis saga has not proved a distraction for the Gold Coast Titans, according to coach John Cartwright.

And just as well - the Titans mentor appears to have more pressing concerns.

A major selection headache looms for Cartwright as the jury remains out on when Greg Bird will return from a hamstring injury.

Usually a straight shooter, Cartwright refused to definitively rule out the NSW lock from Friday night's NRL showdown with Parramatta at Skilled Park.

While it would be a surprise if Bird was risked, the powerful playmaker was spotted at training on Thursday testing out his hamstring in sprint drills.

Cartwright said he was "leaning towards" resting Bird for another week.

"I'm just guided by the physio. They all want to play so you are guided by the medical staff, they generally have the best idea," Cartwright said on Thursday.

"So (I am) leaning towards that (rest) at the moment, just give it another week.

"At this stage he won't play."

Dual international Mat Rogers has been a revelation filling in for Bird at pivot the past two weeks and has again been named alongside Scott Prince in the halves against the Eels.

Queensland Origin representative Ash Harrison has also slotted back into lock after missing the last fortnight nursing a knee injury.

Which poses the potential problem for Cartwright - where will Bird play once he does prove his fitness?

"I'm not worried about that yet," Cartwright said.

"We've got to get through this week and who knows what's going to happen in the game tomorrow - at this stage we'll go as named."

Besides Bird, the other "will he, won't he" debate at the Titans has centred around Inglis.

Speculation on his future may have dragged into a third week, but the Titans further muddied the waters when it emerged they had provided a whirlwind tour of their facilities to Inglis earlier this week.

It has also been revealed that Inglis dined with Titans skipper Scott Prince and his family on the tourist strip.

And the fact Inglis' cousin Preston Campbell plays at the Titans only adds extra incentive.

But Cartwright said he had not been distracted - nor surprised - by the circus around Inglis.

"The fact it's Greg Inglis, of course it's going to get media attention," he said.

"It's not going to affect what we plan to do.

"But there's not a player in the club that wouldn't mind having Greg Inglis in the side.

"It's like any other negotiation, it's ongoing."

The fifth-placed Titans have been buoyed by back-to-back wins over the Warriors and the Dragons to keep alive their hopes of a home final.

But a loss against a Jarryd Hayne-inspired Eels outfit still reeling from last round's thumping loss to the Sydney Roosters could drop Gold Coast to eighth on a congested NRL table.

Adding extra spice is the fact the Eels dumped the Titans out of the 2009 finals race.

"They did and that hurt. It hasn't been spoken about, but I'd imagine it's in the back of the players' minds," Cartwright said.

"It would be nice to be able to walk off and know where you're sitting on the competition table on a Friday night.

"One loss puts you back in the mire."

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