Toughness, commitment and control.
They’re the type of values and characteristics New South Wales Rugby League is instilling in its young talent to ensure the future crop of Blues stars are prepared for the potential of playing State of Origin.
Newcastle Knight Jack Cogger began part of his Blues apprenticeship at the Origin Pathways Camp hosted at Narrabeen on the weekend with some of the State’s celebrated greats, Laurie Daley and Brad Fittler, on hand to mentor the high achievers.
Apart from football drills and activity on the field, the majority of the weekend’s agenda revolved around educating players about what it takes to represent their State with pride.
“It was talking about what it means to be an Origin player. They are trying to instill it from a young age,” Cogger told Knights TV.
“They are instilling what it means, so hopefully one day if we get there, we already know what it’s about."
While the humble and level headed Toukley Hawks junior understands there’s a long road ahead to reach his dream, the fact he’s been acknowledged as a potential representative fosters plenty of hope.
“It’s good to be identified now,” the 18-year-old half said.
“Hopefully one day I will be identified as a senior Origin player.”
In addition to learning about the values and standards upheld by Blues reps, the high caliber coaching staff in Fittler and Daley had an incredible impact on the young Knight.
“They are both big names in NSW rugby league. It’s good to hear from them,” Cogger said.
“They are at the top, they’ve been there and are coaching there now.
“It’s always good to hear from people who have been in those positions before.”
Cogger returned to Knights HQ on Monday with a valuable lesson from his time at the Origin Pathways Camp fresh in his mind.
“You always control what you do. That was a big thing,” he said.
“(We learned) what it means to possibly play for NSW and where it all comes from, what it’s about and what you’re representing."
With years of work still in store before he’s considered for the senior Origin side, Cogger’s immediate attention is on selection in this year’s U20s NSWRL Blues team, which is set to play the curtain raiser match for game three of State of Origin at Suncorp Stadium.
“It’s definitely a goal, but hopefully first I’ll get playing here at the Knights and get into some good consistent footy,” he said.
“If that comes along, of course I’ll take it with both hands."
If Cogger’s trajectory continues, his ultimate goal could very well materialise with the early achiever currently taking on his first bout of fulltime pre-season training with the Knights’ NRL squad.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks but it’s all starting to fall into place and has been good training up with the top guys,” he concluded.