Cogger can't wait to test himself against childhood idol Cronk
After more than a decade watching one of his favourite players, Newcastle halfback Jack Cogger is excited to finally get his chance to test himself against Cooper Cronk when his team hosts the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.
Cogger had one of his best performances in the Telstra Premiership in the 30-4 victory over the Eels last Saturday night. But the 20-year-old says it will count for little if he can't back that up with another strong 80 minute showing.
"It's all about being confident," Cogger said.
"The coaches backed me, and I just had to go out there and put it into place.
"I had a fairly good game, but I have to build on that and it's always going to be never-ending – I am always going to have to improve.
"I've never played against him [Cronk] so I will be really excited – he's someone I have always looked up to."
While the fans have missed out on version 2.0 featuring Cronk versus Mitchell Pearce, Cogger's teammates expect him to build on the confidence gained last weekend.
Hooker Slade Griffin noticed an improvement in the Newcastle number seven's game, not only structurally but also mentally.
"He's tough, Coggs, which is good – you need that at halfback," Griffin said.
"He's really showing his confidence, and he is telling the boys what to do out on the field, which is nice."
The Knights believe the environment in the camp is much better this week, adding that it is a wonder what a victory can do for confidence levels.
After four straight losses, Newcastle players took it upon themselves to get their season back on track and were determined to put talk into action on the field.
"As players you know you whether you have a good game and what you need to improve," Cogger said.
"A lot of it came from individuals but it was led by the senior playing group."
Griffin admits some harsh words at training last week had an impact, with Newcastle only letting in four points against an injury-hit Parramatta - in their previous four outings they conceded 146 points.
"We had to tell the truth, and a few boys got a couple of rockets," Griffin said.
"But everyone's bought in, so I think that if we have that defensive mentality, then the scoreboard will take care of itself."