Bryce Cartwright is seen during an NRL Gold Coast Titans training session at the Titans High Performance Centre on the Gold Coast, Thursday, May 21, 2020. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Bryce Cartwright is seen during an NRL Gold Coast Titans training session at the Titans High Performance Centre on the Gold Coast, Thursday, May 21, 2020. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

Gold Coast Titans will drop anti-vaxx duo

Gold Coast Titans coach Justin Holbrook has admitted anti-vaxxers Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly are likely to be dropped after missing crucial preparation time for the NRL season relaunch.

Cartwright and Kelly were embroiled in controversy last week after refusing to receive influenza vaccinations as part of the NRL's return-to-play agreement with the Queensland Government.

The duo was stood down for a week before Kelly ultimately received the vaccination and Cartwright was granted an exemption on medical grounds.

They were the only players at Queensland's three NRL clubs to be stood down amid the flu-jab saga.

With only three weeks to prepare for the NRL season reboot from May 28, Cartwright and Kelly missed a crucial chunk of training due to their stance.

After featuring for the Titans in the opening two games of the NRL season, Cartwright and Kelly will both miss out on the starting side for next Friday's Cowboys game and are likely to be dropped entirely.

"They're fully right and not injured, but Bryce has missed a full week and Brian missed the week before as well so he's missed two weeks," Holbrook said.

"We haven't had a big window of training with three weeks (to prepare).

"Brian has missed two weeks of training because the first week he had a tooth ache and had to get a tooth out then missed a few sessions. He's probably two weeks behind.

"It makes it a bit harder for them.

Kelly missed two weeks of training. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.
Kelly missed two weeks of training. AAP Image/Dave Hunt.

"They trained while they were off, Bryce trained really hard so he's not a million miles off where the group's at.

"They'll definitely come into play, but whether or not they'll be right for the game, I'm not sure yet, we'll see how next week pans out."

Holbrook will field a new-look side when the Titans restart their 2020 campaign against the Cowboys in Townsville.

Million-dollar halfback Ash Taylor will shift to five-eighth, with Intrust Super Cup gun Jamal Fogarty to start in the No. 7 jersey.

Cartwright will be replaced in the back row by Keegan Hipgrave, who will play his first game of the year after recovering from a concussion lay-off.

The Titans will have a new centre pairing of Tyrone Peachey and Dale Copley, replacing Kelly and Kallum Watkins (returned to Super League).

Originally published as Titans will drop anti-vaxx duo


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