Brennan: Why Cartwright’s career stalled at Penrith
TITANS coach Garth Brennan is adamant that Bryce Cartwright had to leave the comforts of home if he was to ever reach his full potential and reaffirmed his view that he is the man to bring out his best.
Brennan moved to backtrack somewhat from comments made on the weekend that he was the only coach who could help the 23-year-old reach his full potential but said that he first raised the possibility of Cartwright leaving Penrith last year.
Plagued by off-field issues for the past 18 months, Cartwright was last year a shadow of the player that was on the cusp of Origin selection and helped take Penrith to the semi-finals in 2016 but Brennan believes a move to the Gold Coast is just what he needs.
Cartwright, Leilani Latu and Mitch Rein have all joined the Titans from the Panthers in the off-season while Matt Moylan has shifted to the Sharks, Brennan pointing to other Panthers juniors to have succeeded at new clubs as to why Cartwright's change will be a good one.
"I think so, and I raised that with him last year," Brennan said of the need for Cartwright to leave Penrith.
"If you look at the guys that have left Penrith over the years in Michael Jennings and Luke Lewis, they were Penrith guys that played all their careers there.
"They left and they went to another level and I think Bryce is probably at that stage where if he leaves he can go to another level and I'm hoping he can do that up here at the Gold Coast."
Brennan's comment that he is the only coach capable of bringing the best out in Cartwright was seen by some as confidence on the verge of arrogance from a rookie NRL coach, a comment he sought to clarify on Tuesday as he shouted his squad a day at Wet 'n' Wild.
Having first worked together in the Penrith under-18s, Cartwright was a key member of Brennan's victorious Penrith under-20s team in 2013 and as he makes the move to the club his uncle John was so instrumental in building Brennan said it is important he has a coach he can trust.
"Obviously he's had some well documented issues off the field in the last 12 months and I think to move away from his support base of his family and friends, he really needed a coach that he trusted and he knew," said Brennan.
"It wasn't so much that I'm going to get the best out of Bryce as far as ability goes, it was more that I'd be a good support for him.
"The comment I made saying there's probably no other coach that can get that out of him, was meant that I can support him because I know him so well.
"There's not too many other coaches that have had the exposure to Bryce I have both on and off the field.
"I've known him since he was 17. I've coached him since he was a boy, I've seen him mature over the years.
"He's made some mistakes, that's been well documented, but not too many young guys don't make mistakes in their lives. He's still only 23, he's still only a young man himself.
"He's settled down, he's got a partner, he's got a newborn baby, he's in a really good place.
"I just felt - and I think 'Gus' (Panthers supremo Phil Gould) felt the same - that he needed to get out of Penrith and a fresh start with a coach that he knows and trusts.
"It's a chance for a fresh start. I'm really excited about the signing. He's a rare talent."
After six years at Penrith Brennan has now recruited three former Panthers to the Titans with the potential of a fourth in Tyrone Peachey who visited the club recently.
It's raised questions as to the roster management taking place at Penrith but Brennan said he would in no way tear apart a team he worked so hard to help put together.
"I spent six years at that club trying to build that club up, the last thing I'm going to do is go and tear it apart," Brennan said.
"Everything I've done I've done upfront with the Penrith Panthers and with Gus (Gould).
"He's been fully aware, I've kept him up to speed with everything I've been looking at doing.
"I certainly wouldn't go creating an enemy with Phil Gould that's for sure."