Young Jack Cogger knows confidence is the key to performing his role on the NRL stage.
While just 18-years of age and with just two first grade games to his name, he’s earned the responsibility of directing the team around the field and providing motivation when it’s needed most.
“In the position I’m in, I have to be a confident player on the field,” he said.
“The players look to their halfback or their five-eighth.
“As a halfback, you have to talk, and if you don’t, you’re not much good out there.
“Once you are out there, they are tired and looking for a voice and I have to give it to them.”
Cogger made his NRL debut against the Cronulla Sharks in Round 10 at Hunter Stadium and returned to make his second appearance on Saturday night against the North Queensland Cowboys.
“I’m certainly more comfortable out on the field playing first grade,” he said.
“I have had two pretty hard games and I’m looking to get better every time."
Coming up against seasoned opponents has been made easier for Cogger by guidance and support from his experienced halves partner, Trent Hodkinson.
“It was the first time I played with Trent and he’s a really good player,” he said.
“He calmed my nerves going into it which was very helpful.
“I was a lot more confident in that second game.”
“They were very good players and probably the best team in the competition.
“I will learn a lot and will take a lot from that game and will hopefully become better for it."
Coach Nathan Brown believes Cogger shows exceptional promise and praised the former Australian Schoolboy representative for a quality display on Saturday in Townsville.
“He did very well and to get Players’ Player against the side he played against is quite a good achievement when you are playing halfback against the forward pack we were up against,” Brown said.
“I think it is a great effort for him. Jack is someone we have long term plans for.”
The fact Cogger has held his own against some of the most challenging teams in the competition is an indication of his talent, grit and determination.
“He’s certainly held himself very adequately in the two games he’s played,” Brown added.
“He’s played against the two top teams in the comp who have given us a bit of a touch up, so to play halfback and hold your gloves up in those circumstances it’s a testament to his character.”
He’s also willing to speak up and give direction to players much older and more experienced than him, which is an encouraging sign according to Brown.
“If you’re a halfback and are not going to do that, you’re not worth the salt,” Brown said.
“They are good attributes.”
While the first two experiences in first grade have eventuated in disappointing score lines, Cogger is adamant the games have been valuable learning experience for both he and his young teammates.
“I have played two of the best teams, it’s obviously hard yes, but hopefully I’ll take a lot out of it and we’ll be putting score lines on like that one day,” Cogger said.
“It was good to get a rap off the coach but I have a long way to go with my journey.”
Cogger is expected to be named in the halves alongside Trent Hodkinson for Saturday’s match against the New Zealand Warriors at Hunter Stadium. Stay tuned for official Round 14 team news from 5pm.