The Bryce is right for Origin: Geyer
Former Penrith Panthers great Mark Geyer has unequivocally endorsed Bryce Cartwright for a spot in the NSW Blues side for this year's State of Origin series.
Geyer was surprisingly limited to just three appearances for the Blues during his career but knows what it takes to represent one's state in the back row.
Cartwright is in career-best form at the moment having run for 174 and 190 metres in the last two NRL rounds before dominating the City-Country clash with two try involvements and a number of classy offloads.
The Panthers edge forward is ranked fifth in the NRL for offloads with 19 and is Penrith's second top try-scorer in 2016 behind only Peta Hiku with four.
But it's his ability to make something happen out of nothing that has Geyer imploring NSW selectors to pick Cartwright for his State of Origin debut when the series gets underway on June 1.
"Bryce Cartwright has been the form player over the first 10 weeks and he picks himself. I don't even think he's a 'bolter' anymore," Geyer emphatically told NRL.com.
"He's got to be there. He's got to be in the 17 at least.
"I think someone like Josh Mansour might be a bolter on the wing and I think Jack Bird might be another bolter as a utility but Bryce Cartwright is definitely in my 17."
There is no denying Cartwright's attacking prowess, but some have questioned his defensive capabilities after being found out by several teams throughout 2016.
The Panthers back-rower has the fifth-most missed tackles (34) in the NRL this season, including eight misses against the Roosters in Round 7.
Speaking at the launch of the new TV series The Rookie on Wednesday evening, 'MG' said the naysayers were entitled to their opinions, but warned NSW selectors that they'd be making a mistake if they overlooked him because of his defence.
"You can't knock him because it's his time now. If you give him another couple of years then he might miss the boat," Geyer said.
"There was one stage a few weeks back when he was leading the league in missed tackles but I think he has since addressed that.
"Big Shannon Boyd ran at him in the City-Country game in the first few minutes and steamrolled him. I know 'Freddy' (City coach Brad Fittler) then got into him and told him to not let that happen again, and he didn't.
"People need to remember he's only 21 and he's still growing. He will be targeted by the Queenslanders when he does play, but I just think he brings so much attacking weaponry to a NSW team crying out for points that he's an irresistible selection to pick."
The Panthers 1991 grand final hero couldn't speak highly enough of the City Origin star, saying Cartwright's current form comes as no surprise given his famous surname.
Geyer played with John Cartwright – Bryce's uncle – in the premiership-winning Panthers side of 25 years ago and said his nephew was doing the family name proud.
"He's a Cartwright and they're all champion people," Geyer enthusiastically proclaimed.
"Their name in the western suburbs of Sydney as far as rugby league goes is royalty and he's carrying on the tradition and he's carrying it on beautifully."
Regardless of whether Cartwright forces his way into the Blues side, Geyer urged all of NSW to get behind their team to help end Queensland's stranglehold on the interstate series.
According to Geyer, the best way to do that is to cheer on the Blues in person with Sydney's ANZ Stadium set to host Games 1 and 3.
"Some tickets are unbelievably just $50 to see an Origin game," the co-host of Triple M's Grill team said.
"That's unheard of so there are no excuses for fans not to come out and support their state. We've got to try to take advantage of the situation of having two games in Sydney and we need as many blue bums on those seats."