Cartwright keeps his word

SHANNON WALKER, centre, and David Mead (19) in Lismore during the trial match.
SHANNON WALKER, centre, and David Mead (19) in Lismore during the trial match.
GOLD COAST Titans coach John Cartwright’s pre-season prediction that there was no pressure on the team’s Northern Rivers contingent to become ‘instant’ first graders was backed up yesterday with the naming of the side to meet the Newcastle Knights in Round 1 of the NRL.

The home-grown quartet of David Mead, Ian Donnelly, Shannon Walker and Will Matthews all missed out on a spot in the side to meet the Knights at Skilled Park on Sunday.

The Titans are back to near full-strength after suffering several injury disruptions late last year and it appears our home-grown players will have to wait in the wings in the meantime Cartwright predicted as much before the Titans’ final pre-season trial against the New Zealand Warriors at Oakes Oval.

“They (Walker and Matthews) have both had a good opportunity to play a bit of first grade and they have done a good job for us in the process,” Cartwright said. “But it is not as simple as playing junior rep footy and then becoming a permanent member of first grade.”

The Titans’ loss is the Tweed Head Seagulls gain, however. Walker, Mead and Matthews have all been named in the Seagulls’ team to open their 2009 Queensland Cup campaign against the Northern Pride at Kingscliff on Saturday.

After a disappointing year in 2008, the Seagulls are bound to make a big impact on the competition with the team announced yesterday.

Walker was named at fullback, Matthews in the front row and Mead in the centres. Walker and Matthews won a premiership with the Seagulls in 2007.

Meanwhile, Donnelly will suit-up for Ipswich in that club’s Queensland Cup clash with the Mackay Cutters on Saturday

Although our local players may have missed out on spots in first grade there was a few familiar names announced in the Titans’ under-20 outfit which will kick-off proceedings at 10.45am on Sunday.

Jy Hitchcox (Mullumbimby), Scott McLennan (Marist Brothers) and Cody Walker (Casino) made the starting line-up, while Andrew Battese (Byron Bay) and Matthew Hundy (Ballina) will come off the bench.