Cartwright training with Spud Carroll

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.” 

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  • That was a good read. Hopefully Carty is pumped up and will hit the ground running

  • I was not keen on the club to sign him so I hope he proves me wrong.

    BTW, Bryce will need to commit to this training for the long term over the next 4-6 years; not just for a short period of time, before the upcoming pre season training. 

  • If Cartwright is doing this off his own back then it augurs well for Parramatta. It'd be easier for him to sit around waiting for pre-season to start or even train closer to home. There are a ton of gyms in the Colyton area but he's choosing to do the hard slog out to the city and back.

    • Could not agree more Super, plenty of gyms along the Great Western Highway area....

      If Carty wants it and is hungry then we can have a winner here; and yes Spud has done well. Just look how strong Spud looks FHS. Carty has to want it and the pre-season will show this. He has the ability (like many) but he needs to want it. Just hope he can get through without injury / setback. 

      Good story. I was not keen on this either but if he fights for it then so be it.

  • There was an earlier blog here that mentioned several of the eels players were working at Spuds gym at St Marys, which raised good reports, especially with the players who went there.  If Spud can get Cartright back to top condition and able to play top grade at a consistent level then this will be great for the player also the club and supporters.

    In that earlier blog, I made a comment regarding having him part of the eels team of coaches, in a similar way as Joey was working with the halves.  Spud was one of the hardest/toughest players to play RL and given his fitness level he could likely play again, but I certainly would love to see him somehow involved with the eels as an advisor providing a different set of eyes to find areas of need in the players.

    • Great idea colin, but how would he manage sufficient time with his gyms and other commitments?

      • Time management is often one of the hardest things to manage in life, & would be the same for Spud with his gym, I will stand corrected on this but I understand that he has more than one gym, so as to how long they are open for and his involvement in each of them may seem a bit much to ask more of him, or other similar people.  If he does have people working for him in the gyms, he could be available for a limited amount of time to assist with an NRL team, this is very much speculative without doubt but.

        The but is more the element in that he has RL players going to his gym and there was one at St Marys, does it still exist? also where does he live these days, which if its a long trip to where the club trains it may not be an option.  My primary aspect in writing this is the simple belief that he could be the right person to have as a forwards specific coach/mentor able to pick up areas in players games that can be fine tuned making their awareness of needs better.

        Over the years more than one club has used different specialised staff to assist in different areas with certain players. Having a hardnossed forward with the abilities that Spud showed in his playing days, could help in a big way.

        • Spud doesn't have a gym in St Mary's. He may do some work at one of the gyms out there but he doesn't have a Spudd's there.

          • Thanks for the correction Super.  I was going off a story not that long back the some of the eels players were doing some work with Spud at a St Marys gym.

            • Plus Spud has some very serious health issues going on with his daughter which he gives precedence to in supporting her before anything else.

              Would dearly love to him at the Eels in some sort of capacity but he can only do what he can do.

              Btw - are we really supposed to like guys that never played for the Eels? lol

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