Henry poised to fill Cartwright breach at Titans
NEIL Henry is tipped to resume his fractured NRL coaching career at the Gold Coast Titans next season after the club's foundation coach, John Cartwright, forced the board's hand amid speculation about his future.
Cartwright approached the board following the club's 11th loss of the season at the weekend, seeking assurances about the remaining two years of his latest contract, worth $400,000 a season.
He decided to quit after next Monday night's showdown with the defending premiers, the Roosters, after the board could not guarantee his job beyond this season. It's understood he accepted a severance package to step down.
Co-owner Michael Searle, the man who recruited the former Penrith forward as the club's first and only coach in 2007, last week stepped down from the board and also from his role as head of football.
He cited his position as a distraction, having an adverse effect on the club being able to move forward. Club chief executive and former referee Graham Annesley confirmed Henry, who has had head coaching roles at Canberra and more recently North Queensland before linking with the Titans as Cartwright's assistant this season, would take over the coaching reins after Monday night's game.
"Our search for a coach in 2015 and beyond will begin immediately and we don't expect that will be a long process," said Annesley, indicating the club have already found Cartwright's replacement.
Cartwright has been on borrowed time, with the Titans not having played finals since 2010.
Last weekend's loss to the Cowboys put them almost out of contention this year.
"I'm feeling a bit numb, it's such a big part of your life and a lot has gone into it but it probably won't really hit me until I finish the game on Monday," Cartwright said.
"We had enormous successes to kick the club off but for the last four years we've underachieved and, at the end of the day, that comes back to me."
Cartwright said the club's move to the Centre at Excellence at Carrara had been a game changer.
"We started in a shed at Runaway Bay, sharing our gym and amenities with the public. As far as professional teams were concerned, it was third-world," he said. "We moved to this fantastic new facility and it was a curse, we've pretty much struggled since we've been here."
Cartwright has agreed to stay on at the club in a non-football position.
Titans chairman and major club sponsor Rebecca Frizelle said it was a sad albeit defining day for the club. "Without the work of Michael Searle and John Cartwright, quite frankly, we wouldn't have the Gold Coast Titans," she said.