Fullback switch elementary for Watson
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has praised Newcastle-bound playmaker Connor Watson after the youngster shone in his fullback debut against the side he's set to link up with in 2018 as the Tricolours downed the Knights 28-4 on Friday night.
Filling in for the injured Michael Gordon, Watson had a season-high 11 tackle breaks, scored a try and broke the line twice in arguably his most complete performance in first grade.
What made it even more spectacular was the fact it was his first game at fullback in 30 NRL matches, with Watson spending his entire NYC and first grade career at five-eighth, hooker or coming off the bench.
Robinson believes Watson is the man best suited for the No.1 jersey while Gordon continues to recover from a pectoral injury and the Roosters coach is excited to see what the 21-year-old does as he becomes more used to the role.
"I had a chat with him then and it's a good start for Connor," Robinson said after the Newcastle game.
"It's a tough position, fullback, and he's trained there a lot but he hasn't played there. He's played one game there in reserve grade - I think it was Round 6 - so it's been a long time.
"I thought he did some really good stuff and there'll have to be some learning in the next few days to get ready to go again next week. I thought it was a good start but even he's there going 'I should have done this and I should have done that' and that's the bit I like about Connor and that's the thing that we'll need."
While the new role meant a lot more running at the back, Watson didn't find the experience all that different compared to playing in the halves although he admitted there were a few things he had to work on ahead of Saturday's game against the Cowboys.
"There are a lot of things that I need to work on," he conceded in the sheds after the win.
"I think you probably saw that me and Toops (winger Daniel Tupou) needed to talk more on that last play. We got a bit confused and let that one bounce which is not very good.
"My organisation in defence and my positioning are the sort of things that you get better at with more time you spend in the position. I don't think that you can jump right in and be perfect in those areas.
"It's pretty similar to playing five-eighth in attack so that's not the problem, it's more the organisation and the defence and the last plays that I need to get better.
"I really enjoyed it [because] it was good to play 80 minutes in a position that I enjoy. The body's pretty sore. I haven't played that long – I'm not sure if I have at all this year to be honest. I'm still getting used to it but I really enjoyed it.
"Obviously it's a bummer having 'Flash' out because he's been so good for us and obviously he's been such a great goal-kicker for us as well. While I get the opportunity there, I'm going to grab it with both hands and play as well as I can."