By Aaron Callaghan
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Economic data trickling in shows a slight uptick in the construction industry as homes are rebuilt in the wake of NRL players training the house down in pre-season.
*Boom - Tish*
Ahhh blame the @TheNRLRoast it worked on Instagram. Go follow them.
Okay … Well with the National Rugby League pre-season in full swing it is time to start compiling The Unsportsmen’s guide to Training The House Down: NRL Redemption Stories - a collection of snippets, articles, tweets et al of all NRL players who are returning from injury or a horror season like Bryce Cartwright, players running off the Christmas pud and the famed off-season muscle tracker.
This column will be a living and breathing entity as the season plays out with the intent to update as often as possible.
First up is Bryce Cartwright on the redemption trail and from all reports is ‘Training the house down’. Cartwright endured a horror 2018 campaign moving from Penrith to the Gold Coast Titans, Cartwright played only 14 games and spent time with Queensland Cup team Tweed Heads Seagulls. The move north was slated as a fresh start away from Sydney for Cartwright who had been granted an early release from his Panthers contract to join his former lower grades coach in Garth Brennan.
The pre-season buzz out of the Gold Coast with regard to Cartwright is laiden with superlatives as coach Garth Brennan pumped Cartwright’s tyres up to maximum in a recent interview with news.com.au reporter Andrew McMurtry.
Earning triple points on The Unsportsmen’s redemption trail here, Cartwright has earned his coach’s respect by putting in big on the training paddock, coming back early before the rest of the group and most importantly training with the NRL’s legendary social media pest and Unsportsmen favourite Nathan Peats.
If everything goes to ‘pre-season plan’ Bryce Cartwright can regain the momentum from his breakout Penrith years which saw him in line for representative honours.
It is time to take a look at The Unsportsmen’s second instalment of NRL Training the House Down: Road to Redemption where the spotlight will be on the Newcastle Knights.
It was not the way Jacob Saifiti would have wanted to end 2018 and a moment he probably wishes had transpired differently. In early December 2018 Saifiti was involved in an incident outside a Newcastle watering hole, at 230am, in an attempt to break up an altercation involving other patrons, Saifiti was punched causing him to fall backwards and break his leg. Saifiti was cleared of any wrong doing, a Newcastle man (read: Boyd Cordner’s brother) was charged however the unfortunate outcome for Saifiti was that he was now sidelined through the Knights pre-season and into the early NRL competition rounds.
The real lesson here is that nothing good happens after midnight - Just go home.
A frustrating moment for the young foward who is jostling for a position in the Newcastle pack which has been bolstered by the arrival of 2019 recruits David Klemer, Tim Glasby and James Gavet.
Having played just eight games in 2018 during to injuries, Saifiti had overcome those shoulder problems and from all reports, yep wait for it … “was training the house down” in pre-season for the Knights. Coach Nathan Brown heaped praise on Saifiti’s efforts on the training paddock - “It was the best he had trained since I’ve been here without doubt,” Nathan Brown told The Newcastle Herald’s Barry Toohey.
With Saifiti’s focus now turned to rehabilitation of his injured leg, it turns out he is also training the house down on the physio table, with all reports out of Newcastle suggesting he’s well ahead of his recovery schedule and is on track for a round two return.
The final piece of the ‘NRL Redeption Stories’ is finally here and it is time to take a look at a Penrith, NSW and Australian Kangaroo on the comeback trail.
Most importantly this player has self-anointed himself as ‘training down the house’. Here at The Unsportsmen we know it is important to make sure people see you train the house down but it’s infinitely more valuable to control your own narrative, so if you can get the message out that you’re indeed “on fire at training” that places you in great stead for the upcoming season and forcing your way into a representative jersey.
Josh Mansour has endured a horror run of injuries commencing on the Kangaroos four nations tour in 2016 where a training park incident saw Mansour tear his ACL, returning in June of 2017 , Mansour was able to start the 2018 season fit and ready however a sickening head clash with an opposing players knee in round six saw Mansour out for the season and in a battle to save his eyesight.
Mansour is still on the bubble of representative honours, having featured for NSW and the Kangaroos in 2016 and a strong start to 2019 could see him push to regain his wing spot.
Mansour recently told George Vlotis of wwwos.nine.com.au - “I feel like I’m getting back to my best. I feel like I’ve been training the house down, I’m feeling great.”
Straight from the horses mouth. Mansour is training the house down underneath the scorching Western Sydney sun. Watch for a hot start from Mansour playing behind a big forward pack and intelligent ball playing halves in James Maloney and Nathan Cleary.
Can Mansour regain his blue NSW jumper?
That concludes 2019’s ‘Training the House Down NRL Redemption stories’. I will revisit this later in 2019 to check in the above mentioned players and grade their 2019 seasons.
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