Roosters recruit Connor Watson believes Trent Robinson is the man to help take his game to the next level after injury setbacks rocked his self-confidence during his time at Newcastle.
Watson joined fellow returning team-mate Paul Momirovski and Roosters NRLW stars Hannah Southwell and Corban Baxter for a club sponsorship announcement on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old, who made his NRL debut for the Tricolours in 2016, has spent the past four seasons in the Hunter – two of which were hampered by long-term shoulder and Achilles injuries.
It was while the Knights and Roosters were based on the Sunshine Coast throughout the second half of the 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership that Watson spoke with Robinson for career advice.
Watson had a move to the Super League in mind, where Robinson once coached, but the Roosters mentor had other plans to lure him back to the club.
"I'm really happy with the decision I made, I think it's going to be best for my footy and hopefully I can take my game to the next level here," Watson said.
"Robbo's one of the best coaches in the game and has done a terrific job.
"He's developed a lot of players. The guys I came through with in the under 20s and how their footy has gone and the heights they've reached, it's really exciting.
"The conversations I've had with Trent about my versatility and the way the game is going, getting faster, it means the middle doesn't have to be as big as what they've been.
"Playing under him I can hopefully take the next step. I didn't have a great injury run when I got to Newcastle. My first three years I had a couple of season-ending injuries.
"After the Achilles [injury in 2020] my focus went from not really loving footy as much because I'd had so many injuries to life experience and getting over there and still young enough to come back."
Watson returned to the Roosters environment last month to a mixture of fresh and familiar faces.
He was bemused about the prospect of facing the Knights and former housemate Kalyn Ponga in the season opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 12.
"When they released the schedule I was like 'I bet we'll be playing them in round one'," Watson said.
"It's going to be really good. I caught up with Kalyn in Sydney a couple of days after it was announced and he was trying to get into me but we'll see after round one."
Momirovski, who will also return to the Roosters in 2022 after stints at the Wests Tigers, Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers in recent seasons, said it was nice to be back where it all started.
Keary eager to make most of injury return
The 25-year-old had a year left on his contract at the Panthers but was granted a release following the side's grand final triumph in October.
"It's never easy to leave anywhere but when I've left clubs it's never through bad blood, it's just been the way it's unfolded for me," Momirovski said.
"Coming back to this club it's made it easier to leave after winning the premiership [at the Panthers], for sure.
"The year I debuted here in 2018 we won the competition. I remember leaving just after that and being on the field I thought that was a cool moment.
"To come back and try to do it again, it's definitely the goal."