Cogger etching out his own path
Newcastle Knights five-eighth Jack Cogger will be the first to admit his NRL debut came prematurely but it hasn't stopped him from building on the early foundations of his burgeoning career.
Cogger was handed his debut by coach Nathan Brown six weeks ago and has since overcome a shoulder injury to play three NRL games so far.
While the injury-ravaged Knights continued to struggle, Cogger has displayed maturity beyond the typical 18-year-old and begun to separate himself from the achievements of his father.
Cogger's father, Trevor, played 161 games for Western Suburbs throughout the 1980s and while Jack is proud of his old man's feats he also wants to make his own name in the game.
"You never want to live in your father's footsteps," Cogger told NRL.com.
"It's something that's made me want to go one better than him. I'm proud of what he did but I have to run my own ship I suppose."
Newcastle's on-field woes haven't made Cogger's start to life in first grade easy, with the young half finding himself on the wrong end of three shellackings against the Sharks, Cowboys and Warriors.
Cogger admitted he had mixed emotions over the start of his NRL career but could still find a silver lining amongst it all.
"There's no player in the NRL or any competition in the world really who likes losing so you're always disappointed immediately afterwards," he said.
"But as long as you're getting better every game – which is important for us having a lot of young guys – you have to take the good and the bad from it I suppose.
"This opportunity came up way earlier than I expected but you have to take such chances when they come and just go with it. If I can get a few positive things from the players and coaches then hopefully it means I become a better player out of it."
Cogger hasn't been shy in ordering his more experienced teammates around when given his chance in the top side, and has been thankful to be playing alongside former NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson.
"I learnt a lot off Trent over the pre-season and I couldn't have imagined playing alongside him so soon either. He has a calming influence out there on the field," Cogger said.
"But it doesn't matter how young I am either, ordering the others around is what I have to do in my position. I've been instructed to lead the team around which I probably do differently to some players but it is all part of the job."