In 2020 Jack Cogger found himself in a predicament that many young players face.
At the age of 23 he had been in a first-team set-up for five years but had not managed to fully establish himself, with regular game-time scarce.
The halfback had played just 42 games in five seasons for the Newcastle Knights and Canterbury Bulldogs, and was often moving between the NRL and reserve grade. His development was stunted.
So, craving consistency and regular opportunities, Cogger has headed to Super League to take his career to the next level with Huddersfield Giants.
“I was coming off-contract at the end of last year,” he explains.
“I debuted in 2016 in the NRL and I had five years where I was a back-up half, or I started a number of games in a row and I was always thereabouts. But I just couldn’t get a solid start and a good, consistent run of footy.
“I was between grades all the time, going between first grade and second grade throughout the year. Anyone, no matter what age or level, needs a bit of consistency, especially in the halves. So my plan is to get that consistent footy at a really good level.
“I probably could have gone back and played reserve grade in Australia, but Super League is pretty much on a par with the NRL. Some people think it’s a bit below, but from everything I’ve noticed at training it’s very similar.
“So hopefully I’ll play consistent footy to take my game to the next level of consistency.”
An Australian Schoolboy in 2014, Cogger debuted in the NRL with Newcastle in 2016.
The scrum-half joined the Bulldogs in 2019, but has now joined the Giants on a two-year deal.
And he has enjoyed his first few weeks with Huddersfield as the new season comes closer.
“It’s been so far so good,” he says.
“We have had a bit of disrupted couple of weeks due to weather and Covid, but all-in-all pre-season’s been pretty good. We’ve put some consecutive training sessions together now and most of the squad’s back on deck, which is what you need. There have been disruptions, but overall we’re starting to fine-tune as we head into the season and we’re timing it well.”
After leaving Sydney, Cogger has been hit with both a long lockdown and the harshness of a British winter.
But the Australian knew what he was coming into and has focused purely on training hard with his new club, with the aim of steering clear of outside distractions.
“I didn’t come here oblivious of the weather or of what the situation was in England in terms of Covid,” he insists.
“It hasn’t been easy, especially when I look back at everyone in Australia and it’s Covid-free and it’s life as normal. But I was prepared for it and in pre-season that’s what we do, that’s our job – we go to training, we come home, we prepare for the next day.
“So lockdown hasn’t affected me too much so far. But in saying that the disruptions with training and a few players getting Covid has probably been the most annoying. I’ve come here to train and play footy, so when we haven’t been able to go to training that’s annoyed me the most.”
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