Watson confident Cogger will shine

Some Huddersfield Giants fans will have had to do a Google search when Jack Cogger was first linked with the club.

Among a raft of high-profile NRL signings heading to the UK, the halfback is one of the more obscure of this year’s overseas imports.

But coach Ian Watson is no stranger to the 23-year-old, having watched him extensively throughout the early stages of his career, and he believes he has what it takes to be a success in the British game.

“The big one for me was that I wanted genuine competition within the spine,” Watson said.

“In your spine, while you want consistency and continuity, you also need the pressure to compete for a spot.

“One year at Salford we had Dobson, Carney and Lui and it created intense competition on gameday and in training. As a result, the levels go up.

“Jack Cogger has played a helluva lot of games in the NRL for a 23-year-old. A lot don’t make their debuts until then. I remember watching him at Newcastle, where he played like an old-school Brit, really direct, taking the line on. They changed the way he played, and he had a few games where he was swinging around the field and looked comfortable. I like my halves to move and interlink, but to do that you have to have players who are durable and tough.”

Luke Yates falls straight into that category, with the forward reuniting with Ian Watson after they spent a year together at Salford.

Watson made the workhorse one of his priority signings following his move across the Pennines and he believes Yates will become a key cog in the Giants pack.

“He is a big signing for us,” he said.

“Everything I ask of middles, he does. His work rate is second to none in the competition, his detail, his professionalism around the place, are also second to none. I hope he can become a real leader and bring the likes of Oliver Wilson and Matty English on.

“He’s a real professional. We have a lot of young middles here and it’s important we put the right kind of experience around them to make them better players. He and Joe (Greenwood) have been educated really well, playing at the top end, and the younger lads can use them as role models. All of our younger players will have international aspirations, so it’s important they have players who have been at that level to look up to and learn off. With Joe, Josh Jones and Ricky Leutele, we’ve brought them in.”

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