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Titans coach upset to lose O'Dwyer

An inability to retain fringe players within the NRL's salary cap system is forcing players like Luke O'Dwyer out of the game, according to Gold Coast coach John Cartwright.
Titans coach upset to lose O'Dwyer
by AAP

By Ed Jackson

GOLD COAST, Qld, Aug 9 AAP - An inability to retain fringe players within the NRL's salary cap system is forcing players like Luke O'Dwyer out of the game, according to Gold Coast coach John Cartwright.

The foundation Titan announced on Friday he will hang up his boots at the end of the season, his 10th in first grade, at just 30 years of age.

Speculation over O'Dwyer's future has been swirling for most of the campaign, with his position on the fringe of the Titans squad making it tough for the club to offer a satisfactory new deal.

Instead O'Dwyer will move into the club's front office as a business development officer as he pursues a burgeoning off-field career that includes a sports management firm he has already established on the Gold Coast.

Cartwright admitted he didn't want to have to lose O'Dwyer, both for his versatility as a player and for the experience he provides to the squad from his time in the NRL.

But the Titans coach said he always has a problem keeping experience while bringing through youngsters under the current system.

"Chalky would be invaluable being a part of our squad playing with guys that are coming through the system and learning the things we can't teach them in the gym or can't teach them out on the training field," Cartwright told reporters on Friday.

"They only learn when they play with guys like this and the fact that it's hard to do that with the structure we have, it makes it even harder again."

O'Dwyer's retirement means the Titans will have just two members of their inaugural NRL squad at the club in 2014 in veteran forwards Mark Minichiello and Luke Bailey.

A utility who has played at centre, five-eighth, lock and second-row during his career, O'Dwyer admitted he'd struggled throughout the year with his future up in the air.

But after making the tough decision to call time on his career, he said that clarity had helped him in recent weeks.

"Definitely a tough decision but I think it was affecting me in training and at home, it was a bit stressful," he said.

"Once I made decision I had certainty and to know where I was going was a relief. I knew where I was at."

O'Dwyer, who spent three years with Parramatta before joining the Titans for the 2007 campaign, will make his 100th appearance for the club in Monday's match against Canterbury in Sydney.

He is just the ninth player to reach the hundred-game milestone for the club.


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