Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has refused to concede tough prop Luke Bailey has played his last NRL game after scans on Monday confirmed the 32-year-old forward had snapped his Achilles tendon.
Bailey, whose energy and passion have been the driving force behind the Titans’ comeback this season, has surgery on Tuesday but Cartwright is confident he will add to his impressive tally of 231 NRL games.
Bailey signed a contract last year taking him through to the end of 2013.
He’d been in such vintage form, there’d been speculation recently he could extend that another season or two.
“He’s ruptured it – he’ll be out for the season,” said Cartwright.
“No, it won’t be a career-ender. Those operations are rare although we’ve had a couple done here (Titans).
“I know Chris Walker did it twice and came back. The way they do those types of surgeries, he’ll be right to start next year.”
While Cartwright was speaking confidently, the injury at 32 is definitely one that could convince the former NSW and Australian forward to call it quits with such a tough rehab road ahead.
Classy Brisbane centre Justin Hodges, who took nine months to recover after snapping his Achilles in 2010, was 28 when he underwent surgery and is back playing strongly again.
Cartwright said while it was a “big blow” losing Bailey for the rest of the season, it gave another player an opportunity to push his claims.
“Bails (Bailey) has had some bad injuries during his career so he will no doubt draw on that and he’ll get plenty of support from us here too.
“It gives someone else a chance but we won’t finalise our side (to play Parramatta) until later in the week.”
Cartwright said he was confident the 10th-placed Titans could scrape into the finals.
“I think 28 points will probably get you in and we can get to 28 points,” he said.
“As it stands at the moment, (mathematically) we’re still a chance so every game is important.
“Nobody here is giving up.”
Parramatta, though, have found some winning form since coach Steve Kearney’s departure and are playing the style of football Cartwright said would make them dangerous on the weekend.
“If we can win, we’re still in there swinging,” he said.