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Bryce Cartwright's admission about Brad Arthur amid stunning NRL resurgence for Eels

The Eels back-rower has revealed one major regret about his playing career.

Parramatta back-rower Bryce Cartwright says he regrets not moving to the Eels earlier in his NRL career after crediting coach Brad Arthur with his stunning career resurgence. The 29-year-old has endured a chequered playing career after breaking onto the scene at Penrith, where he spent four seasons after making his first grade debut in 2014.

Cartwright showed flashes of brilliance but never really lived up his obvious potential, before making a big-money switch to the Gold Coast Titans in 2018. Touted as a future State of Origin prospect, Cartwright struggled for form and fitness firstly under coach Garth Brennan and later Justin Holbrook, with his stint on the Gold Coast probably best remembered for his refusal to be vaccinated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pictured left to right, Bryce Cartwright and Brad Arthur.
Bryce Cartwright says Brad Arthur has played a massive part in his NRL career resurgence. Pic: Getty

Since being released from the final year of his Titans contract and moving back home to NSW, Cartwright has steadily rediscovered some of his best form. And he puts a lot of it down to the influence of Arthur and the mentoring role the Eels coach has played for the 29-year-old.

Bryce Cartwright wishes he played under Brad Arthur earlier

Cartwright says he's a much more consistent and mature player now than he used to be and suggests his career trajectory could have been different if he had a coach like Arthur to "rein" him in earlier in his career. "I wish I came here earlier in my career because I think he would have been a bigger help to me from a younger age," Cartwright said.

"I probably didn't have someone like Brad to rein me in back then. He's simplified my game... He reminds me of my dad (former first-grader David) in some ways because he can be very cranky and loving.

"I'm a lot older now and more experienced, and I now realise what it takes to be a complete and consistent first-grader and a team player. I probably didn't appreciate the little things like that when I was 21 – things like kick chases, simple runs in the middle of the field and yardage carries.

"It's taken a while to learn, and I'm still learning, but, I wish Brad was my coach when I first came into first grade." It's a massive rap for the Eels coach, who finds himself under pressure to deliver success to a Parramatta club that hasn't won a premiership since 1986.

Bryce Cartwright on fire in round one of the NRL

In Cartwright though, Arthur looks to have found a consistent edge forward that is solid in defence and a constant threat for his side in attack. After a superb season in 2023 for an underperforming side, Cartwright underlined his growing importance to the Eels with a standout performance in round one against Canterbury, where he scored two tries and claimed the maximum six Dally M Medal votes as the player of the match.

Cartwright's form has once again seen his name thrown up in the discussions around State of Origin. But his and Parramatta's sternest early test of the season is set to come on Friday night against his former club and reigning premiers, Penrith.

Seen here, Bryce Cartwright celebrates with Eels teammates during Parramatta's NRL round one win over Canterbury.
Bryce Cartwright celebrates with Eels teammates during Parramatta's NRL round one win over Canterbury. Pic: Getty

The 29-year-old says the main difference between the player he is now and the one he was at Penrith is consistency. Cartwright says he has learnt to eliminate much of the questionable decision-making from his game and prioritise the team over his own personal ambitions.

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"I feel like when I was younger that I was a part-time, inconsistent player," Cartwright said. "I'd do some really good plays and them some really bad plays. But I feel like as I've got older over the past couple of years, I've turned myself into an 80-minute player with more composure and a team-first mentality."

with AAP

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