NRL: Blue coach Laurie Daley believes Penrith second-rower turned playmaker Bryce Cartwright is ready to play Origin
NSW can finally have Greg Inglis.
Well, sort of.
While Inglis and his Bowraville birth certificate may have forever brushed NSW, the Blues are now being urged to fight back by picking a footballer who mirrors that most contentious of Queenslanders — rising Penrith star Bryce Cartwright.
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, Panthers forward Chris Grevsmuhl — who only switched from South Sydney a fortnight ago — said the similarities between the two NRL stars were staggering.
Indeed, while Inglis has long shunned his State of birth, Grevsmuhl suggested NSW coach Laurie Daley would get the next best thing by selecting Cartwright for Origin III in Sydney.
“Bryce Cartwright is a freak. Something special,’’ Grevsmul said.
“He actually reminds me a lot of Greg Inglis because, both those guys, they make it seem like they have so much time.
“With football in hand, everything seems to slow down around them — even stop. Not many footballers can do that.
“Being a Queenslander I shouldn’t really say it, but NSW should definitely be picking Bryce Cartwright.”
With this year’s Origin series already over, Daley is under mounting pressure to blood ‘Generation Next’ players like 21-year-old Cartwright, Cronulla forward Wade Graham, even Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco.
Yet speaking on Tuesday, the Panthers No. 6 said he expected to be overlooked for the ANZ Stadium dead rubber, adamant NSW would stay loyal to those who played in the opening games — while also farewelling captain Paul Gallen.
Still, a host of league types, including eighth Immortal Andrew Johns, believe Cartwright is the man most likely to end a Maroons run now stretching 10 of eleven series.
Asked how rival tip sheets read on Cartwright, Grevsmuhl continued with a laugh: “Stop the offload.
“But that’s just it, you can’t.
“How do you stop Bryce Cartwright from offloading? Truly, I don’t know.
“He finds space when there is none. Like GI, he can make something from nothing, too.
“And he’s getting better all the time.
“This time last year, if Bryce had a free hand he’d flick the ball out and see what happened. Now though, those passes are timed to perfection.
“He knows exactly the right time to offload.”
Despite his outstanding form with Penrith, who currently sit eighth on the NRL competition ladder, Cartwright has twice missed selection in the Blues side.
Instead, Daley has named him both times as a “NSW Development Player”.
Asked about the ongoing debate, Cartwright said: “Well, there’s one more game to go so, after that team is picked Sunday night or Monday morning, all the talk will stop I guess.
“But overall, it’s been fine.
“I’ve just been worrying about playing well here. Trying to get some wins for Penrith.”
But as for being selected in Origin III?
“I think they will stick with the same 18,’’ Cartwright said.
“And at the end of the day, no matter what anyone is saying, the only opinions that matter are those of the selectors and coach.
“Fingers crossed it happens one day.
“I certainly don’t see this year as an opportunity lost. I had a patchy start to the year and the players in my position, they’ve been playing good football for years.
“I’ve got to play better. Force their hand and make them pick me.”