I had the real privilege of playing right alongside John Cartwright for six years of my Panthers career. I also watched and admired him when as a youngster - I would especially wait around after my club game for St Marys under 17’s for the A grade xture in which ‘Carty’ would star.
I also know John’s older brothers dave and Cliff very well too. dave was the St Marys enforcer back then, and Cliff was my rst coach in u/23’s. In fact the entire Cartwright family have had a massive affect on Rugby League full stop in the greater West of Sydney.
I was also coached by John’s brother-in-law Jamie Jones, who like his family in-law has the Panther blood running through his veins. To witness Bryce Cartwright’s ascendency in the NRL ranks is quite surreal. That right arm off-load. That step and jink and running style that is a lot swifter than it looks.
The similarities between Carty and his nephew (dave’s son) are mind blowing.
But with all due respect to my partner in crime, I think Bryce is on the cusp of an even greater career than his famous uncle. Which alone is a feat. he also MUST be picked for NSW this year. Surely his 195 running metres, 2 off- loads, a try, a try assist, a line break assist and 30 tackles against the Raiders last Saturday in Bathurst all but con rmed a spot in Laurie Daley’s Blues this season.
The Panthers now nd themselves in 8th spot, mainly on the back of a forward pack energized with youngsters like Cartwright, Campbell- Gillard, and Fisher- harris leading the way. With the rep round upon us with plenty of Panthers players involved, the club’s depth will be surely tested over the next couple of weeks.
But one gets the feeling the 2016 version of Mountain Men will handle it astutely.
And another thing.....
Tuesday this week the 4th instalment of the MG cup kicked off again. It’s been a real highlight of my post footy career to be able to watch this rugby league schools competition go from strength to strength.
With the help rstly of Mark Bohan and now Ben James from the NRL the initiative has been supported wonderfully by them and their team.
The loyal sponsors ( hogs Breath, North Penrith Mcdonalds and Master Coaching) have also made it a competition that has great scholastic rewards for the individual deemed the best in each age group.
I’m excited to see the students and teachers of the schools participating really buying into the comps motto ‘I learn so I play’.
Students have to tick three boxes each week before they are allowed to partake in any up-coming game that they may have. The results have been unbelievably rewarding. If you’re looking for some entertaining school footy make sure to try and get to a venue (school) near you as the comp plays out over the next 8 weeks. See you at the game.