NRL star Bryce Cartwright has opened up on “the most painful experience of my life”, claiming he lost 10kg in a week after a horror injury in the pre-season.
The 26-year-old moved to Parramatta from the Gold Coast this season in the hope of resurrecting his footy career and he had his best game in years during Thursday night’s 46-6 win over the Broncos.
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Cartwright set up a couple of tries with some silky passes close to the line and scored a four-pointer himself as he looks to find the form that saw him selected in the NSW Origin squad in 2016.
However, things didn’t start so well at the Eels. Cartwright suffered a horrific broken jaw after a freak training incident in February when Blake Ferguson accidentally collected his teammate with a stray boot, forcing the back-rower to sit out the first month of the season.
Cartwright had all four wisdom teeth removed and lost a stack of weight because of the injury.
“I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t recognise myself,” Cartwright said, per the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was crazy, it was like the Captain America movie when he was really skinny.”
Cartwright’s talent was obvious after starting his first grade career at Penrith in 2014 and he was tipped for big things, but his career fell off a cliff after signing with the Titans for the 2018 season.
Bryce Cartwright is finding his feet again.Source:Getty Images
Regular defensive lapses where ball-runners either surged over the top of Cartwright or ran around him without having a hand laid on them led many to question the ball-playing forward’s commitment.
He also attracted headlines during the pandemic last year for reportedly opting against getting a flu vaccination.
However, Cartwright was determined to prove the critics wrong and has worked hard at the Eels since leaving the Titans last year for “personal reasons”.
A metal plate now lives in Cartwright’s jaw because of the injury but he showed no signs of nerves against Brisbane.
“My first game back I was pretty scared to make that sort of tackle again, but as soon as I did I was fine,” he said.
“I’ve had a few injuries now. Everyone knows it’s part of football. You need to overcome those things.
“It (the win over Brisbane) is probably my most consistent game for a while. It was nice to have a decent game but, in saying that, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”
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