Jackson hopes to have charge downgraded
A simple question to Canterbury Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson on Monday brought a quick answer.
Q: "So who is skipper for the Bulldogs against North Queensland this weekend?"
A: "Well, hopefully me."
The hurdle to that happening is Tuesday night's judiciary hearing, where Jackson is attempting to get his dangerous head contact charge against Canberra five-eighth Aidan Sezer downgraded.
If he is successful he will be free to play the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday night.
"We made the decision this morning," Jackson told NRL.com on Monday after a training session at Belmore Sports Ground.
"I'm trying to get the grade two charge down to a grade one. Hopefully we're successful and I'm on the plane to Townsville."
If the NRL judiciary thinks otherwise, Jackson will miss not just the Cowboys but the Sydney Roosters on April 19 at ANZ Stadium, as his charge carries a two-match penalty.
Regardless of how the judiciary plays out, Jackson has other things on his mind.
"I'm not happy with the way I've started the year, I think I've been pretty poor," Jackson said.
"Just different parts of my game I'm not happy with but chief among them is my defence is not where I want it to be.
"I don't think I've been playing consistently, and it's got nothing to do with being captain this year - not at all.
"It's an individual thing for me. I always challenge myself to be better and I don't think I'm reaching there yet."
Jackson has averaged 84.8 metres per game over the first five rounds of the Telstra Premiership season, while his tackle efficiency is at 88.1 percent. He wants both those numbers to rise.
"It's been a challenging start to the year for both me and the team, but I'm extremely confident the results will turn," he said.
"We've worked too hard every day and we've got too good a team not to be really competitive. And that's why it's so frustrating because we know we're capable of so much more than we're producing at the moment.
"On being captain it is a big change for me; it's new for me. I'm definitely not perfect at it but it's something I'm learning and I'm loving."
His captaincy style is to try to speak to each of his players during the week before the next game.
On game day he likes to address teammates but welcomes input from some of the other experienced players in the side - like internationals Josh and Brett Morris, Greg Eastwood, Kieran Foran, Aaron Woods and David Klemmer.
"I try and say something to everyone just before the game or during the week," the 27-year-old said. "But I don't want to just do it myself. There's a lot of people I want to say something as well, as they are really experienced players and leaders themselves. So I'm happy to use their brains as well."