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Bulldogs half Jack Cogger

"Call if you're going to be late."

It's the simple yet effective message Canterbury playmaker Jack Cogger learnt the most off the late Graham Murray during his time coming through the junior systems at Newcastle that continues to play a role in his developing NRL career.

Murray, who died after a heart attack in 2013, was head of the high-performance unit at the Knights when a 16-year-old Cogger first linked with the Hunter club.

For Cogger, a Wests Tigers tragic growing up, having the former Cowboys and NSW Origin coach in his career early had an immediate effect. But no mention of the 2005 grand final, where Graham coached the Cowboys, was ever brought up.

"I see it as a crucial time when you're 16, 17 or 18," Cogger told

"Certainly not the be all and end all, but a time where you can pick up a few things and carry habits through to the rest of your career.

"There were a dozen of us in the room when we first met 'Muz' and the first thing he said was if we're ever going to be exactly on time or late to training you've got to call up and say so.

"Just that politeness and respect for people giving up their time to help you become a better player.

Bulldogs v Cowboys - Round 7

"I'll always remember that and from then on I've taken on all the footy skills he taught me in the two years I was at Newcastle.

"It's that discipline thing, you've got to be on the footy field and in your life. They're the tools you take whether you're a footy player or an accountant. You've got to be disciplined along the way.

"That's always stuck at me."

It's safe to say Cogger's initiation to first grade has required a lot of mental patience and discipline.

The former Knights halfback has just three wins from 23 appearances in the NRL.

His NRL debut was a total nightmare with a 62-0 drubbing to Cronulla in 2016. It took him a further two years between injuries and demotions to taste his first  victory.

"You could look at is as a tough way to start my career but at the end of the day I got to play in the NRL," Cogger said.

"Although it was hard there's thousands of kids who want to be in my position and that's how I look at it.

"As long as I don't give up and keep pushing to become a consistent first grader I'm hoping success isn't too far away."

Pay insists Dogs won't change ruck tactics

His move to Canterbury is a homecoming of sorts.

Cogger was born in Greenacre but moved to the Central Coast with his parents, including his father, former Western Suburbs utility Trevor Cogger.

Despite joining the Bulldogs with a goal to start in the halves alongside Kieran Foran, Cogger is enjoying his early opportunities at Belmore.

"It was a hard decision to leave Newcastle originally but once I got here I felt comfortable," Cogger said.

"I think I'm slowly building, I haven't had the perfect game yet but hopefully building towards that and putting pressure on [coach] Dean [Pay] to see if he will change the team.

"I don't think it's far away than what people think but the word 'consistent' comes to mind."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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