The First Interview: John Cartwright

The First Interview: John Cartwright speaks to the club’s newly appointed head coach from 2025, John Cartwright in his very first interview since the announcement…

Club News speaks to the club’s newly appointed head coach from 2025, John Cartwright in his very first interview since the announcement…

On joining Hull FC

“It’s really exciting for me. When a club the size and the status of Hull FC came along, it was something I really wanted to have a go at.

“My time at the Broncos has made me realise that if a Head Coach role came along, and one that really interested me, then I would like to have a crack at it.

“It’s probably been about ten years since my last Head Coach role. I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some really good coaches in Paul Green at the Cowboys, Des Hasler at Manly and now Kevin Walters at Brisbane – I made sure I kept learning throughout my time at those clubs.”

Why move back into a Head Coach role now?

“I had a year at Salford as a player towards the end of my playing career and I had the time of my life – I really enjoyed that year I spent there. I met a lot of great people over in England and I also enjoyed the style of football that was played. And it was always in the back of my mind that one day I could possibly come back to England and coach.

“Having worked as a lower grade coach for a while, I moved up into my first Head Coach role at Gold Coast Titans when they entered the NRL. I really enjoyed that. I always found comfort when I arrived at the training ground.

“Whenever there were dark clouds above you, I would always enjoy working with the players and working out how to get out of the rut that you were in.

“I feel that I am way better prepared to coach now than I was when I first began at the Titans. It’s a business where you never stop learning, especially when you are coaching around good people.”

How did the move come about?

“My manager had spoken to Richie Myler at Hull FC and then we touched base and found that we were on the same page.

“If you’ve been involved in Rugby League for long enough, you’ll come across clubs that find themselves in the position that Hull FC are currently in. I’ve been there myself as a player and as a coach.

“I’m a real student of the game. I love Rugby League. Coaching is something I have been doing for so long, I’m not really sure what I would do without it. And for the amount of time that I’ve been doing it, I still really enjoy it.

“People talk about the bad times – and yes there are bad times – but it’s also the challenge of getting out of that. I love working with players who want to win and want to lift trophies. That’s the challenge for me and all the staff for Hull FC. We want to get all of the players thinking that way.”

On discussions with Richie Myler so far

“He’s explained a bit about the history of the club and we’ve spoken at length about where the club sits at the moment.

“What I do know is that the club has enjoyed success in the past. Everyone in Australia is well aware of Hull FC as a club, but unfortunately they haven’t enjoyed the sort of success that the fans crave over the last few years. To reinvigorate those people, you need to be winning and Richie is very passionate about that in particular.

“When you sit in the sort of position that Hull FC find themselves in, it’s not just one area that you need to fix up – it’s several areas. But it’s not a huge fix – sometimes it’s just improve a little in each area. But you don’t often get much time in this game, so we need to get to work quickly and make those improvements across the club.”

What will John Cartwright’s Hull FC look like?

“They’ll be fit, they’ll be hungry and they’ll be enjoying their footy. If we can get those three things happening, that’ll be an improvement from the word go.

“The pre-season is the time where you can get most of your improvement out of the squad, that’s what I’ve found in my time in coaching.

“I’m not sure what the boys are used to, but one thing I can guarantee Hull FC fans is a fit and hungry team for 2025.”

How important is culture to you?

“Culture is extremely important and at the end of the day, it means the attitude of your team.

“I suppose the best way to describe it is that you know when you’ve got a really good culture just by being in the building. And you can also tell when the culture isn’t quite where it needs to be just by being in the building.

“Everyone wants to win, but sometimes winning can hide problems within your culture. It’s about standards, it’s about behaviours and it’s about everybody in the club buying into it.”

On recruitment for 2025

“For success on the field, there’s no doubt that you’ve got to get your recruitment right.

“It’s not about having instant success, either. Sometimes you’ve got to get out there and bring some experience in and around the young players in the squad – that’s something I’ll be discussing constantly with Richie over the next few months.

“I’m right across John Asiata. I worked with him at the Cowboys and the Broncos and I know he’s had great success in England with Leigh.

“The one thing about John is that he’ll bring the absolute right culture to the club. He’s a good man, a tough man, a family man and a very good player, so he’s started the recruitment drive very well with the type of blokes that we need at the club.”

On Hull FC’s passionate supporters

“One thing that really attracted me to the English game was the fans. I toured England in 1990 with the Kangaroos and every game we played was packed to the brim – the crowds were absolutely unbelievable.

“I’ve heard all about Hull and how big Rugby League is in the city. I’m really looking forward to the rivalry with Hull KR.

“I’m actually really good friends with Willie Peters. He reached out and text me tonight, just to say that I’m going to love it here and that the fans are so fanatical, so that was nice to hear and I can’t wait.”