How John Cartwright is taking belief from Brisbane Broncos run ahead of Hull FC move

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

John Cartwright is taking confidence from Brisbane Broncos' recent turnaround ahead of his move to Hull FC, with the Australian suggesting that the Black and Whites can do something similar over the original three years that he is in charge.

Linking up with Kevin Walters ahead of the 2021 season, the Broncos were coming off an NRL wooden spoon but have since risen over a three year period to be genuine Premiership contenders. They came so close to defeating the might of Penrith Panthers in the Grand Final last year and are in the mix once again this season.

And Cartwright, who was part of two Premiership-winning sides at Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys, is now hoping to achieve a similar turnaround with Hull, with the Aussie looking to make small and gradual improvements with the Airlie Birds from the get go.

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"It's hard to go from a wooden spoon to a Grand Final in three years, but it shows it can happen," Cartwright said. "The Broncos were going through a big change at the time. They had an inexperienced group, but they were chocked full of talent. Kevin has done a really good job moving players on and giving young fellas an opportunity, and it took a couple of years for those guys to make their mark in first-grade.

"Generally in the NRL, when a player has played 50 to 100 NRL games, that's when they start becoming seasoned pros. It took two to three years to do that at the Broncos, and it might take that time to do it at Hull, but so long as we see little bits of improvement along the way, then we'll be fine."

He continued: "We can talk about how it's going to take a little bit of time, but don't get me wrong, we're going there to win games, bring fans back to the club, and make them proud to get to the ground and wear their jumpers. That's what it's all about.

"Everything we do between now and when our first game kicks off next year is about winning. Our whole focus in everything we do will be to make the team and the club in a better place."

In the meantime, Hull are currently enduring an 11-game losing run and host Leeds Rhinos at the halfway point of the current Super League season this Saturday. There's no doubt the current trajectory is tough, with the club making mid-season signings to try and get themselves out of the rut.

Cartwright, meanwhile, is no stranger to tough times. While his CV contains Premiership wins, State of Origin camps, City Origin spells, and more, he's also seen the other end of the spectrum during his time at Gold Coast Titans.

The Titans' inaugural head coach, Cartwright first stepped up to a head coach role in 2007, and while he oversaw the Queensland club's best ever NRL finish, he also picked up a wooden spoon. However, regardless of fortune, the Aussie's recipe was always the same.

"It’s not easy all of the time, and there are tough times, but for me, the good always outweighs the bad," he explained. "However, I always found comfort when I got to training and saw the players put in the effort.

"No one wants to lose, but when there were dark clouds above you, my comfort was always spending time with players and working out how you get out of the rock that you’re in.

"You do that with culture. It's really important; it's about setting standards and behaviours and everyone in the business buying into them. There are a lot of little things that you've got to get right."

And as for his move to Hull, which will be his first head coach role since leaving the Titans in 2014, Cartwright has no doubt that the timing is right.

"I never rushed into coaching again," he added. "I was really enjoying my roles as an assistant, but I feel like I’m way better prepared to coach now than when I first started at the Titans.

"It’s all really exciting. It’s been ten years since I was a head coach. I’ve been really fortunate to work with some top coaches, including Paul Green at the Cowboys, and I’ve also spent time with Des Hasler at Manly. I was comfortable in that role and making sure that I kept learning, but my time with the Broncos has made me realise if a head coach job came along and one that really interested me, then I’d like to have a crack at it.

"It’s a difficult business to get a start in. At this level, the NRL and the Super League, there’s not that many positions, but there’s a lot of coaches. When a club of the size of Hull FC became available, it was something that I really wanted to have a go at.

"I had a year at Salford in Super League at the end of my playing career, and I had the time of my life. I really enjoyed the year I spent there. I enjoyed the people, the living, and the style of football that was played, and it was always in the back of my mind that maybe one day I could come back here and coach."

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