Cogger putting in hard yards with kicking game

Having a strong kicking game is the must for any NRL halfback and the goal is no different for young Knight Jack Cogger.

The 20-year-old made his debut for the nib Newcastle Knights two years ago, and has floated between first grade and reserve grade for much of his short career, partly victim of circumstance and also due to a developing kicking game.

However, Cogger is determined to improve, putting in the hard yards with extra work off the field to ensure he develops as a kicking half.

"I think mainly for me (my biggest fault)...has always been my kicking game," Cogger stated.

"That's one thing I've definitely been working on, not just over the last two weeks, but for the last couple of years and I'm going to continue to keep working on that."

But the kicking load won't be lumped completely on Cogger, who said it's handy having Kalyn Ponga nearby.

"It helps with Kalyn having a left foot," smiled Cogger.

"I dare say I'll be doing most of the kicking on Sunday but when you've got a guy with talent like Kalyn with a left foot on that side of the field, it's smart for the team to use that."

The combination of Cogger and Connor Watson will make up one of the youngest halves pairings in the NRL, but the 20-year-old isn't fazed about being a relatively inexperienced duo, knowing Watson's game pretty well.

"I've known Connor for a long time, since our junior days back on the Central Coast," Cogger said.

"That always makes it easier and we've had the work in the pre-season where we're swapping and changing all the time, it's just a part of it.

"You'd like to have the same combination every week and I'm sure every club in the NRL would like that, but it's part of rugby league and injuries and form, so we've prepared pretty well."

The Knights halfback admits going back to ISP can be a confidence booster and allowed him to work and improve on the things he needed to.

"I have gone back, worked on things I needed to, and the coaches were happy with me, so hopefully bring that form back into first grade this week," Cogger added.

Coincidently, Cogger's first game in the NRL was against the Cronulla Sharks and while the score line wasn't much to boast about at 62-0, he's certain this time round it will be a different story.

"I remember it quite clearly, but it would be nice to get one back on them this weekend," Cogger commented.

"The squad has changed a lot since then and I think we're in a way better position than we were two years ago.

"Looking back at that game I think our whole left edge had a combination of 10 NRL games against Cronulla in the year they won the premiership, so with two years more experience and a few more guys coming onboard, I think we're in a lot better position."

But Cogger admits the current Sharks side is in just as good as form for the 2018 season.

"They have won five in a row and we're coming off a couple of losses, so we'll be looking to hit some form," Cogger stated.

"We've got a lot to play for this weekend, we're back at home, we've had a few bad starts in the last couple of weeks and we've got the Mark Hughes Foundation game this week as well, so we've got that extra motivation to play well this weekend."

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