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Knights halfback Jack Cogger.

Saifiti buzzing after Emerging Blues involvement

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have confirmed the signing of Jack Cogger, one of the best young prospects in the NRL, on a two-year deal to potentially become Kieran Foran's halves partner.

The Bulldogs announced they had secured Cogger’s signature on Wednesday morning and are believed to be keen to bring the 20-year-old to Belmore in 2018, however the Newcastle Knights won’t entertain Cogger’s request for early release from the final year of his contract.

 A glut of playmaking talent at the Hunter club has led to Cogger looking for a first grade start elsewhere, with big-name recruits Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson, as well as Trent Hodkinson and Brock Lamb blocking his path to the top flight.

Cogger will join the likes of marquee man Foran, Fa'amanu Brown and Matt Frawley as options in Canterbury’s scrum-base from next season, with Moses Mbye’s looming shift to fullback opening up a halves spot alongside Foran.

The signing of Cogger will reunite him with new Bulldogs coach Dean Pay, who oversaw the Knights junior at NSW under 20s level, including when he captained that side two years ago.

Knights halfback Jack Cogger.
Knights halfback Jack Cogger. ©Paul Barkley/NRL Photos

He made his NRL debut for Newcastle in 2016, playing eight games over the past two seasons.

Cogger’s departure means another local young gun has exited the Knights, a trend coach Nathan Brown was keen to end when taking charge of the wooden spooners three years ago, but it does leave the club with extra salary cap room in 2019.

That spending ability could prove critical with Lamb, also touted as one of Newcastle’s best playmaking prospects in years, off contract and bound to be in the sights of rival clubs.

- Dan Walsh

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