Hull FC appoint John Cartwright: The lowdown on Super League’s newest coach

Ben Olawumi
Hull FC badge, John Cartwright

John Cartwright has been appointed as Hull FC's new head coach from 2025

Hull FC have confirmed the appointment of John Cartwright as their new head coach, with the Australian set to take charge from the beginning of the 2025 season.

Simon Grix will remain in interim charge until the end of the current campaign, with FC currently sat 11th on the Super League ladder, level on points with bottom side London Broncos.

Those two clubs’ only wins so far this year have come against one another, with each victorious on home soil.

Cartwright will become the Airlie Birds’ third consecutive Aussie head coach, succeeding Tony Smith, who had himself replaced Brett Hodgson.

But who is Hull’s new man at the helm? We bring you the lowdown on Super League‘s newest coach below…

Hull FC appoint John Cartwright from 2025: The lowdown on Super League’s newest coach

We’ll start with the here and now – Cartwright is the assistant coach to Kevin Walters at Brisbane Broncos.

He has held the same position with the Broncos since the 2021 season, and will round off this season Down Under with them before attention turns to HU3.

Walters’ side were unforgettably beaten in the most dramatic of styles in the NRL Grand Final by Penrith Panthers last year, and it’s the Panthers where Cartwright’s rugby league story began many moons ago.

Now 58, and turning 59 in August, Cartwright was born and bred in Penrith, never playing for any Australian club side other than the Panthers – winning the 1991 Premiership Down Under with them having topped the table and then beat Canberra Raiders in the equivalent of a play-off final before going on to lose the 1992 World Club Challenge against Wigan Warriors.

Also representing Australia on the international front & New South Wales in State of Origin, he made just shy of 200 appearances for Penrith before rounding his career off with a season in Super League.

With the Greater Manchester outfit’s tagline then simply ‘Reds’, Salford were the Super League club that Cartwright donned a shirt for in 1997.

A second-rower, he made 16 appearances in the British game including nine in Super League, scoring three tries including a brace in his penultimate outing against Paris Saint-Germain, hanging up his boots following a Premiership quarter-final defeat at St Helens five days later, this before the introduction of the play-off system.

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John Cartwright’s coaching CV including NRL & international roles

So, you know where Cartwright is now and what his playing career looked like, but where has he been between hanging up his boots and assuming his assistant role at Brisbane? The answer – all over.

The 58-year-old’s coaching career began back in 2001 when he took charge of Penrith’s reserves, with his first senior role then coming at Sydney Roosters when then-soon-to-be Kangaroos chief Ricky Stuart appointed him as his assistant.

Cartwright’s first official head coach gig came in 2004 as he was appointed to take charge of the USA’s national team against Wayne Bennett’s Australia in the ‘Liberty Bell Cup’.

That game produced one of rugby league’s notorious ‘what if’ moments, with the US leading 24-6 at half-time before a Bennett dressing down in the changing rooms at the break led to a response from the Kangaroos, who eventually won 36-24.

Head coach-wise however, it’s the Gold Coast Titans where Cartwright made his name – appointed as their first-ever boss following admission into the NRL ahead of the 2007 season.

In charge of the Titans until August 2014, when he stepped down following four campaigns without reaching the end of season ‘finals’ (play-offs), he had a 46% win record – 86 wins & 100 defeats, the last of those losses coming against the Roosters.

Notably, during his time with the Titans, Cartwright was also chosen as the man to lead New South Wales’ Country Origin side in 2009, winning one and losing two of his games in charge.

Linking up with North Queensland Cowboys following his departure from the Gold Coast, he became assistant to Paul Green in 2015 and that year, they won the Grand Final.

Leigh Leopards captain John Asiata was in the Cowboys’ squad and he, of course, will make the move to Hull from Leigh Leopards ahead of 2025 with a reunion now on the cards.

Cartwright’s other assistant coaching gig, prior to the Broncos and following the Cowboys, came at Manly Sea Eagles. He departed the Cowboys just a few weeks after their 2015 Grand Final triumph to take up that role.

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