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3 days ago
Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has defended outspoken dual international Mat Rogers in the fallout over the Titans pivot's controversial internet blog.
Rogers came under fire from North Queensland after the Gold Coast five-eighth last week claimed recovering Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston was a defensive "liability".
Rogers claimed to have run over the top of Thurston twice during their first round NRL clash, adding: "and I never get to use anyone as a speed hump".
Fired-up Cowboys boss Peter Parr later took aim at Rogers' defensive performance in the Gold Coast's disappointing 30-12 loss to the Dragons last Monday night.
Rogers is known for his straight talking and doesn't hold back in his two internet blogs - on ninemsn.com.au and Telstra BigBlog.
But Cartwright said Rogers did not have to be reined in.
"If anyone read that blog (they could see) he was having a go at himself as much as he was Johnathan Thurston - it was all a bit of fun," he told AAP.
Rogers claimed his blog was taken out of context.
"I'm not about to apologise for what I wrote, because I feel it has been misconstrued and turned into something it wasn't," Rogers wrote on ninemsn.com.au.
"It was never an attack on Thurston or his ability, if people want to take it that way, then so be it.
"Firstly, being 85 kilos wringing wet and having never put on a big hit in my life, I'm hardly going to be bagging another player about his defence.
"I was actually referring to the risks versus rewards associated with playing injured and the possible flow on effect of a star player starting too soon after major surgery and how he could suffer the consequences through the whole season."
Cartwright said the blog controversy was not a distraction as they prepared to tackle the unbeaten Cronulla Sharks at the Gold Coast's Skilled Park on Saturday night.
"It doesn't even come into play," he said.
"We've prepared for who we are playing. What other people take out of it doesn't bother me at all.
"Mat's the same, he's not affected. He plays the same game week-in, week-out."
Cartwright has enough problems after losing hardworking prop Michael Hodgson (foot).
He cut backrower Luke Swain from an extended bench and will finalise his 17 on Saturday.
The Titans (1-1 record) are hopeful of bouncing back at home after copping flak this week over their woeful away record following the Wollongong loss.
They have won just twice outside Queensland since their inception.
That's easier said than done against the Sharks.
Cronulla have an unbeaten start following wins over last year's grand finalists - both away.
"Coming up here won't faze them at all. It's more about getting into the zone we were in when we played the Cowboys (and won 36-18 in the first round)," Cartwright said.
Cronulla became embroiled in the shoulder charge controversy following prop Ben Ross's seven game ban for a late hit on Melbourne No.7 Cooper Cronk.
The Sharks have also lost backrower Reece Williams and pivot Brett Seymour (both knee).
"It (the Ross controversy) won't affect them at all," Cartwright said.