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Titans salute 'warrior' Bailey

By Laine Clark 19/04/2011 07:30:11 PM Comments (0)

Contract talks may be up in the air for several high profile Titans but Gold Coast coach John Cartwright sounded like he didn't want Luke Bailey leaving any time soon after saluting his "warrior" on Tuesday.

Former Test prop Bailey, 31, will play his 200th NRL game when he runs out against the Eels at Parramatta on Sunday.

While Cartwright said Bailey was "one of many" players they were negotiating with, he claimed the veteran prop was becoming a rare breed.

"A low percentage of guys do it (play 200 games) in his position, these days especially with the amount of game time he plays," Cartwright said on Tuesday.

"We are very blessed to have a frontrower in the modern game who can play 80 minutes at the drop of a hat and play week in and week out and do the same job for us."

Cartwright described Bailey as his "warrior".

"There's not many now," he said.

"A lot of the kids come through the juniors under an unlimited interchange and it's hard to get them out of that habit as they progress to senior ranks.

"(But) he (Bailey) sees it as a badge of honour to play big minutes.

"He doesn't like getting taken off the field, doesn't like missing his training - he is a throwback to another era."

Apart from the likes of current Titans Bailey and Anthony Laffranchi, Cartwright said negotiations would also continue with Dragons fullback Darius Boyd and Melbourne's Beau Champion.

The Titans are expected to step up talks with Boyd next week despite the No.1 tipped to follow Dragons coach Wayne Bennett to Newcastle next year.

"It will be a slow process," Cartwright said of talks.

"(But) it's a good mix and a great match for us - he's a tremendous player, got youth on his side and he is from the Gold Coast.

"He is probably the most high-profile player who has left the Coast and is on the market - we would love to get him back."

The stage is set for a Titans (2-4 record) recovery with their next two games against Parramatta and the besieged Sydney Roosters (also both 2-4).

But Cartwright said lessons learned from their 2011 drought-breaking win in Canberra in round four ensured they would keep their feet on the ground after last round's 20-14 victory over Wests Tigers.

"There was a sigh of relief (after the Canberra game)," said Cartwright.

"We can't afford to do that now.

"We have two very winnable games in the next two weeks and if we do we will be in much better shape."

No wonder he wasn't getting excited about Eels X-factor Jarryd Hayne's two match ban for head butting.

"We won't even mention that," he said.

"Whoever is in there is going to want to keep their spot and hungry players generally win games for you."

Cartwright named an unchanged side on Tuesday, only adding forward Sam Tagataese on a five-man bench.

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