Over the last forty-eight years no other rugby league family been more involved with the Penrith Panthers club than the Cartwright family.
Merv laid the foundations of the chocolate soldiers back in the mid 1960’s. His sons Cliff, Dave and Michael all playing first grade at one time or another. The most famous of Merv’s sons, John, going onto playing for Australia and being a part of the infamous 1991 Grand Final victory over Canberra at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Now its the third generation of the family playing their role in Panthers folklore in the shape of a twenty-year old set to become a rugby league superstar.
Bryce Cartwright has earned his place among the big boys in the National Rugby League. His achievements are exceptional and will surpass his uncles in the years to come.
2013 being the breakthrough year for Bryce as he won the NYC Player of the Year joining the likes of Ben Hunt, Jack deBelin and David Klemmer to win the award. In an exceptional year for the Panther cubs, they were rewarded on Grand Final day with the NYC Premiership despite the dominance of New Zealand Warriors in the short competition’s history.
Cartwright made the step up to National Rugby League mid last season and debuted from the bench when the Panthers smashed Parramatta 38-12 at SportingBet Stadium. Injury against the Bulldogs ended his season prematurely after seven games.
We can talk about his milestones over the last few years but it’s important to recognise what Bryce individually brings to the Panthers side.
Bryce just like his famous uncle John is tall and lanky. It’s pretty handy to have a player who can offload but more impressive to have someone who can get the ball away when you least expect it. And from a Panthers point of view this provides an extra dimension in their attack with James Segeyaro, Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace being able to create second phase play. We haven’t seen the potential of Cartwright in defense in his first few National Rugby League matches. However during his 2013 NYC season his one on one defense was exceptional. It’s fair to say there’s a lot of ‘Hoss’ in Bryce Cartwright’s game.
Penrith had no other option but to secure his long term future at the club until 2018 as last season started to wind down. By then he could potentially have over one hundred National Rugby League games under his belt, State of Origin, International selection and be in hot demand from other clubs.
There’s no doubt he will be part of the seventeen man squad that is announced for their round 1 clash against the Bulldogs at Pepper Park.
Recently Cartwright told PanthersTV of his goals for 2015 were to, “stay fit and healthy and get through the season injury free, (and) hopefully cement a spot in the first grade team”
Grandfather Merv will be watching proudly from above at his grandson on his way to a stellar career at the top level.
[table]BRYCE CARTWRIGHT, ,JOHN CARTWRIGHT
19, Age at NRL debut, 20
7, NRL Appearances, 186
1, Tries, 14
0, NSW Appearances, 8
0, Test Appearances, 18 [/table]
THE CARTWRIGHT DYNASTY
- 1967-71 Merv Cartwright is the Secretary of the Penrith Rugby League Club
- 1979 Cliff Cartwright, Dave Cartwright debut for the club
- 1985 John Cartwright debuts for the club
- 1989 John Cartwright debuts for NSW
- 1990 John Cartwright debuts for Australia
- 1991 John Cartwright part of the Premiership winning side
- 1994 Michael Cartwright debuts for the club
- 2013 Bryce Cartwright NYC Player of the Year and Premiership winning player
- 2014 Bryce Cartwright NRL debut