Bryce Cartwright is the perfect example of why the Under 20s competition, now known as the Holden Cup, has been a massive failure.
The kid's a freak, he'll be great, we can all agree on that and there's no arguing that some players have graduated fairly well from the youth competition but the Holden Cup promotes a style of play that is so different from the NRL that some players will take years longer to develop.
Right now Cartwright's play is irresponsible and it's frustrating. The potential is there, we saw it in his first few matches. Miraculous offloads lead to the only tries Penrith looked like they'd ever score and he was solid if not great in every facet of the game.
The honeymoon period didn't last long though and now we're stuck with a player who feels like he has to win the match with every play. We know you can offload, Bryce! You don't need to remind us every run!
Errors have replaced try assists, missed tackles have replaced try saves. The rigours of first grade have gotten to a player who's never known the consistent physicality that can only be learned in proper reserve grade.
Injuries have clearly forced his early promotion and it's hard to be too critical of him for this reason (this is true for many of the players we see making the team each week) but it's disappointing to think of how well rounded a player we could be enjoying had Cartwright plied his trade for a season in the NSW Cup.
Now, though, we take the tough road. Players will return from injury next season and perhaps then Cartwright will get a chance to play in NSW Cup, but he'll need significantly longer to mature his game whether or not this happens now.
The Holden Cup has been fun to watch at times, mind-boggling at others, but it's seen the stagnation of player development and while it continues to exist things like expansion of the NRL and proper youth representative teams will wane due to the impending shrinkage of the NRL talent pool.
Have Your Say: Who do you think has been the best player to have graduated through the National Youth Competition?