Still only 19-years-old, Jack Cogger heads into his second NRL pre-season on the back of an impressive 2016.
That didn’t make the first day of the 2017 pre-season any easier on the physical front though, and Cogger woke up on Wednesday morning with the obligatory aches and pains.
“The first hit-out yesterday was hard, but you expect it,” the young half told Knights TV.
“I’m a bit sore this morning, but it’s good to be back.”
With six first grade matches to his name and an off-season shoulder operation that sees him return to football in good condition, the young half is ready to take the next step in his development.
“I got the clearance from my doctor about two weeks ago, so now I just need to strengthen it up and be ready to go for the full pre-season,” Cogger explained.
“I’m pretty much in full training at the moment, but I’m also trying to strengthen it and get it to where it was before the surgery.”
Cogger says it is a lot easier going into his second pre-season now that he knows what to expect from the gruelling three month block of intense training.
“I was feeling a lot better this year and I knew what to expect,” he said.
“It’s probably the mental side of it that’s the hardest.
“You haven’t been out on the field running around like that on time trial for a while, so to be back doing that is a bit mentally tough, but that’s what it’s all about.”
There are plenty of fresh faces out on the field as well, with a host of new training staff coming in to put the players through their paces.
Assistant coaches Kurt Wrigley and Simon Woolford are front and centre at most sessions, while Luke Portese joins the strength and conditioning side of things.
“It’s good to see some new faces and it changes it up a little bit,” Cogger said of the new staff.
“We’re all here to play footy, so there’s that common goal that makes it a lot easier.”