THE New South Wales State of Origin team has lost Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright as Blues assistant coach.
Cartwright informed NSW coach Ricky Stuart of his decision to stand down after the Titans 23-10 loss to the Panthers in Round 13 on Saturday night.
The Titans Coach said he didn't feel comfortable leaving his side in its current predicament to join the NSW side in camp in Sydney.
“I've just decided that it was probably a little bit too much to be away with where we are at the moment,'' said Cartwright.
“I just probably wouldn't be able to get my head around being involved in the NSW team.
“I just phoned Ricky and said ‘mate I won't be able to do it for the next couple of games'.”
The Titans have only won three games and are currently in last place on the ARL ladder with the Sharks and Raiders.
So, it is no surprise that Cartwright has decided to cast off his Origin responsibilities at the moment.
“My priority has always been here and none of us ever intended for us to be in this situation but if anything I'm excited by it.
“I think it's a challenge, we haven't been in these waters before and we're halfway through the season and looking to finish the back end of the year on a high.
“I just don't think I could've got my head around being down there while the side was up here working hard.''
Cartwright said he had been thinking about the issue in recent weeks and he felt comfortable with his decision to stand down.
“It has been on my mind. It's a tough thing to do – you want to be involved at the very elite but my priority is here, so I have been wrestling with it,'' he said.
“But I feel much better now that I've made a decision...We realise we're halfway through and our pre-season goals haven't been met but we've still got half a season left to finish as high as we possibly can.''
Cartwright spoke highly of Stuart's reaction to his resignation.
He said the Blues coach was very supportive of his decision to stand down given the Titans' current situation.
“He's been through some tough times at the Sharks and knows exactly what I'm going through – he's been tremendous actually,'' said Cartwright.
Titans captain Scott Prince has taken personal responsibility after the team lost its fourth game in a row.
“I guess I have to take responsibility as captain – I am not leading by example,” he said. “The coaching staff can't do any more.”
It has been a surprising performance from the team which only just missed out on making the 2010 grand final.
Prince said his team had been making fundamental errors.
“And with fundamental errors you can't enjoy football and you can't win football games,” he said.
But there was still a hint of confidence from Prince.
“There are 17 blokes in there hurting at the moment... but the one thing I know is that we are going to work hard at training,” he said.
“Confidence comes from working hard.
“It is going to take a gritty performance to get us out of the situation we are in at the moment.”
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