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Coach John Cartwright looks on during the Gold Coast Titans traininghttp://c1.puntersparadise.net/news/photos/Coach John Cartwright looks on during the Gold Coast Titans training-1407235385_n.jpg

Cartwright calls time on Titans NRL role

Coach John Cartwright looks on during the Gold Coast Titans training

John Cartwright's decision to quit Gold Coast is the end of an era at the embattled NRL club.
Cartwright calls time on Titans NRL role
by AAP

By Ed Jackson

GOLD COAST, Aug 5 AAP - John Cartwright's decision to quit Gold Coast is the end of an era at the embattled NRL club.

The foundation coach announced on Tuesday he had stepped down with the Titans facing the prospect of a fourth straight season without finals football.

Joining Cartwright in the departure lounge was club founder Michael Searle, effectively ending the involvement of two of the biggest characters in the Titans' short existence.

While Cartwright will stay at the club in a non-football role, the end of his eight-year coaching tenure only adds to the uncertainty surrounding the future of a club undergoing a full internal review.

Following a distinguished 184-game playing career with Penrith, Cartwright was appointed the Titans' inaugural coach in 2007 after serving an apprenticeship as an assistant at the Panthers and Sydney Roosters.

Initial success appeared to point the Titans towards a bright future, with the club coming within a game of the grand final in 2010.

A wooden spoon in 2011 halted the momentum and, as the club battled off-field financial and boardroom issues, Cartwright wasn't able to get the Titans back to the finals.

"The last four years we've under-achieved and, at the end of the day, that responsibility comes back to me," Cartwright said.

"I put my hand up - we haven't been successful on the field to maintain my job."

Assistant Neil Henry will take over as interim coach following the Titans' clash with the Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Monday night.

The ex-North Queensland coach is considered the leading contender for the role full-time after impressing board members following his appointment as an assistant last year.

It's believed the club's perilous financial state could also make securing a high-profile coach from outside difficult.

Whoever gets the role will need to make a call on the only remaining foundation players, Luke Bailey and Mark Minichiello, who are both off contract at season's end. There's also the issue of the current campaign, which Cartwright insists isn't over yet despite the club sitting 13th going into this week's fixtures.

"Maybe I'm an optimist," the 48-year-old said.

"I really wanted to be involved in the game this weekend and hopefully that keeps us alive for the semi-finals."

Cartwright and Searle appear to be the first victims of the ongoing internal review.

Searle's role at the club had been under scrutiny since his involvement in the doomed Centre of Excellence building at Robina plunged the club into a $25 million debt.

He has stepped down from his role on the board and as executive director of football but will retain his 40 per cent share in the club.

PREMIERSHIP PANTHER AND FOUNDATION TITAN - CARTY'S CAREER:

Playing career

Position: Second-row

Club: Penrith (1985-96)

Games: 184

Tries: 14

Rep Honours: NSW City (2 games, 1990 and 1992), NSW State of Origin (8 games, 1989, 1991-92), Australia (7 Tests, 1990-92)

* Premiership player in 1991

* Dally M second-rower of the year in 1991 and 92

Coaching career

Club: Gold Coast (2007-14)

Games: 192 (88 wins, 104 losses)

* Reached finals in 2009, 10

* Wooden spoon in 2011

* Was NSW City coach in 2009, 10 and 11. Won one game and lost two.




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