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Panthers back Cartwright despite slump

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/05/2017 Steve Zemek

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin looks set to persevere with Bryce Cartwright at five-eighth despite his admittedly ordinary form as a restless Te Maire Martin angles for a release.

Cartwright was again inconsistent in his side's come-from-behind 36-28 NRL win over the Warriors at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.

While he recorded his first try assist in five appearances this year, he was also guilty of throwing a looping pass which was intercepted by David Fusitua and led to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad's first try.

After being affected by an ankle injury during the opening rounds, he has failed to reach the heights of last season but Griffin maintains he is the club's best choice at No.6.

"Bryce is patchy at the moment. He'd admit that," Griffin said.

"He threw some really nice balls to get some points in the second half. By his own standards he'd be disappointed with some of the other stuff.

"I'm not going to throw him under the bus, he's a great player, he's a terrific bloke and he's a big part of our team.

"There were a lot of people in this team who have done things over the last five weeks they shouldn't have and Bryce isn't someone who I'm going to single out."

Cartwright's return in round eight resulted in Martin being dropped to reserve grade and the young New Zealander is now being heavily linked with a move to the Warriors.

It has been reported that Martin is asking for an immediate release, a move which could prompt Tui Lolohea's move to the Wests Tigers and for Mitchell Moses to be granted permission to join Parramatta.

There is speculation the Warriors see Martin as a potential replacement for Canterbury-bound No.6 Kieran Foran.

Martin scored for the Panthers in their NSW Cup draw with the Warriors at Pepper Stadium on Saturday and Griffin insists the 22-year-old - who is contracted until the end of 2018 - has a future at the foot of the mountains.

"Yeah. He's in reserve grade today and I know where you're going: you're trying to drum up a story that he's going somewhere else," Griffin said.

"That's something that's between him and his management and our management but at this point it's not something I'm concerned about."

Asked if he would entertain releasing Martin, Griffin said: "That'd be between me and Te Maire and at this point that hasn't happened."

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