In the sheds: Jack Cogger
It’s not very often a young rugby league player will be presented his debut match jersey by his dad.
But that’s exactly what happened for debutant Jack Cogger in the Hunter Stadium dressing sheds before Sunday’s game.
You see his father Trevor Cogger was a fitting person to play a role in the special occasion having played 160 first grade games with the Western Suburb Magpies in a career that spanned more than a decade.
“At a young age, my dad and I probably didn’t talk about footy that much, but as I’ve gotten older, he’s really cracked down if I’m playing good or playing bad and what I should do,” he said.
That type of mentoring probably explains why so much similarity can be drawn between father and son on and off the field.
While both relatively light in build, they are both known for their courage and strength shown when playing in the halves.
“To have him present my jersey it was a really proud moment and something I’ll never forget,” he said.
Although the scoreline slipped dramatically away from the home side during the Round 10 match against the Cronulla Sharks, the experience was still very bit awe-inspiring for the Toukley Hawks junior who has dreamed about a debut in the red and blue since childhood.
“It was a really proud moment for me,” he said.
“I suppose it was a dream come true, but you could say it was also a nightmare with the score,” he said.
“It’s everything I hoped for, the speed of the game, the physicality, it’s what it’s all about.”
Cogger served his apprenticeship in the Knights’ junior system and has earned a raft of representative honours including NSW and Australian Schoolboys.
The promising young talent was also awarded the Brian Carlson Award and Andrew Johns Medal in 2014.
A high point of the whole experience for the 18-year-old was running out alongside his longtime halves partner, Brock Lamb.
Both players began their association as young teenagers in the Knights juniors system and this year completed their first stint of fulltime pre-season training with the NRL squad.
As fate would have it, injuries to the Club’s experienced halfback Trent Hokinson and five-eighth Jarrod Mullen meant the duo would continue their progression together, this time on the NRL stage.
“Me and Lamb, when we got the shot at pre-season training, we just wanted to just get that 12-week block out of the way and get everything out of it we could,” he said.
“(That led to) Browny keeping us on in the season and in Round 10 we get our shot.
“To play alongside Lamby, it just makes it that much better for me.”