From the DT.
Bryce Cartwright is training house down with torturous gym sessions as he prepares for NRL comeback
He’s the bloke many would like to see fail, but Bryce Cartwright is ready to win over NRL fans after linking with a legendary hard man.
Here is the undeniable proof that Bryce Cartwright is busting a gut to reinvigorate his stalled NRL career.
Cartwright, the former Penrith and Gold Coast star, has been torturing his body during gruelling training sessions at the Darlinghurst gymnasium of former rugby league hardman Mark “Spudd” Carroll.
Boxing sessions, rowing machines, arm curls — Cartwright is preparing himself physically to start training next week with new club Parramatta.
“I feel 10-foot tall coming out of that gym,” Cartwright said. “I’m feeling really strong, fast, explosive and have put on a few extra kilos of muscle. It’s the best shape I have been going into a pre-season before.
“My hunger is growing every day. I want to get back to my best and get better each day. I not only want to prove other people wrong but prove to myself that I can become the player again that I know I can be.
“The last couple of years, I was probably worrying about proving other people wrong and didn’t worry about proving things to myself. That’s been my main focus now, to believe in myself and not worry about what other people think.
“I feel awesome. Training with ‘Spudd’ has given me that extra confidence. He rips into me at training and pumps up my tyres. I just want to rip in and get a spot in that first 13. I can’t wait.
“I’m just so excited to be back in Sydney. I’m settled in and am going to a top-four team. I haven’t played since July. I had a month off and have been training ever since.
“My body feels really fresh. I’m holding 109kg pretty comfortably.”
Cartwright has been driving from Colyton in Sydney’s west to Darlinghurst in the east twice a week for sessions, which start at 6am. That’s a round trip of 100km.
A physical session on Monday was Cartwright’s 21st under Carroll’s watch.
Carroll contacted Cartwright’s manager Allan Gainey after reading a Daily Telegraph exclusive back-page story on September 21 that said Cartwright had been granted an early release from Gold Cast but wanted to continue his NRL career in Sydney.
"I wanted to get my hands on him so I rang up his manager and said if Bryce needed help, he should give me a ring,” Carroll said. “He called within 20 minutes and we started the next day.
“Bryce is a freak. At 26, he is built like granite. He is six foot, four inches and has every requirement to be a destroyer in the middle — and he is starting to believe that.
I’ve been giving it to him at the gym, old-school cardio stuff I learned off Dessie (Hasler). It is repetitive stuff at pace and with intensity.
All one-minute efforts, that’s what rugby league is. Six tackles, one minute, take a breath and go again. He will hit the ground running with fitness.”
Cartwright was named as a NSW development player in 2016 before his career flatlined at Penrith and then Gold Coast.
“Bryce has had a bit of pressure in his life,” Carroll said. “The interaction at the gym has been good for him. He has never once been late. We start a 6am but he always gets there five minutes early.
“He is getting up early to train. I’ve told him to seize the day. Bryce has been training with a couple of my dudes who can be a bit crazy and you can see he has changed. He looks you in the eye.
"I told (Eels coach) Brad Arthur you’re going to get a ‘good one’ if you sign him up. I don’t do that very often but I just think there is an opportunity for this kid because I hate seeing natural talent go to waste and he certainly has that.”