Watson returns to his junior days of playing fullback

Returning to his days as a junior, Newcastle's Connor Watson is relishing the chance to have the No.1 figure emblazoned on the back of his jersey.

The Dubbo 22-year-old spent his first season with the Knights in 2018 playing five-eighth.

But in a nice twist, he will now move to fullback for 2019 while regular No.1 – and his housemate for the past six months – Kalyn Ponga shifts into No.6.

"I played a lot of footy there [at fullback] as a kid," Watson told NRL.com.

"It wasn't until I was 18 and came down to the Roosters where Latrell [Mitchell] was playing fullback that I moved into No.6.

"I'm sort of used to it... but the game has developed a bit more so I'm learning a few more things."

The biggest change in moving back to custodian will mean Watson has to do his sums.

"Probably defensively and in organising the line," he said.

"It's like going back to maths class – you have to count every tackle and make sure people are in the right positions. That's the hardest part.

"Attacking-wise we played a similar style last year with both me and Kalyn. That won't sort of change too much."

The positional change for Watson is delighting teammates and his coach.

"I want to give him rap. He's really found his position there," said Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce.

"He's obviously a half but I've always believed in him as a fullback. I loved him as a five-eighth but I think he's going to have a great year and be one of our better players – one of the better players in the competition – at fullback."

Coach Nathan Brown is impressed with what he's seen so far.

"Fullback certainly does suit Connor," Brown said.

"When we bought Connor we knew what his good attributes were. Sometimes it's a matter of getting these players and working it out.

"They are good, selfless players and you make it work. They're happy to do what's best for the team and they buy into it.

"Connor, Kalyn and Pearcie were probably more across the decision than I was. I sort of helped facilitate it."

Asked what style of fullback Watson was, Brown said: "His natural game is that he's such a competitor and he puts himself around the ball as much as he can.

"Being able to turn up in the right places is a great attribute.

"He played three or four games there for the Roosters a few years ago and he was really good there.

"He bought him to play some five-eighth but he came here to play some fullback. So he can flip them around and we might need him to.

"We saw last year that his passing game has developed and that's something I'd like him to continue to work on."