New Penrith Panthers recruit Jed Cartwright said he feels right at home, playing for the club that means so much to him.
The 20-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Panthers after departing the Gold Coast Titans at the end of last season.
It’s understood club bosses had been attempting for years to lure the Warragamba junior and son of Panthers legend John Cartwright to the club.
Speaking after a recent training session, Cartwright said he was happy to be back in familiar territory.
“It’s a familiar area because I grew up here but I hadn’t been back in a while,” he said.
“I’ve pretty much supported the Panthers my whole life, even though my ‘old man’ was up on the Gold Coast.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the Panthers and I’m glad I’m here.”
The young backrower’s move to Penrith means the club is now flush with two Cartwrights, with older cousin Bryce already carving out a name for himself in first grade.
“To be here with my cousin is unreal, it’s good I can continue on that name at Penrith,” Cartwright said.
“Having two Cartwrights playing in the one team is definitely a goal of mine. There’s a lot of hard work before that can happen, but I’m very hopeful.”
One person who was very happy to hear Cartwright was moving back home was his father and current Manly Sea Eagles assistant coach John Cartwright.
The Cartwright name is synonymous with Penrith, with John winning a premiership at the club in 1991 and grandfather Merv one of the founding fathers.
“I consulted with Dad about the move, he’s obviously very proud especially because his Dad (Merv) was very instrumental in getting the club started,” Cartwright said.
“Dad’s always there if I need advice plus I’ve got the coaches here at Penrith to help me as well.”
Cartwright, who made the NSW U20’s squad last year, said his goal for 2017 is to stay fit and make his NRL debut.
“Over these next 12 months I want to stay on the park as much as I can,” he said.
“If I’m able to do that then hopefully I’m playing good footy, and then get a debut – that would be unreal.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.