If there’s one trait Jamal Fogarty has in spades it’s patience, so the new Raiders halfback won’t be making any brash predictions about finals footy or forming a killer combination with Jack Wighton.
After debuting with the Titans as a 23-year-old in 2017 and playing two games, Fogarty spent the next two years honing his skills with the Burleigh Bears, claiming the prestigious Petero Civoniceva Medal in 2019 and staking an undeniable claim for an NRL call-up.
That opportunity came in round three of 2020 and from there he made every post a winner, chalking up 39 games and helping the Titans to their first finals appearance in a decade last season.
Fogarty’s departure from the Gold Coast may not have been the most amicable but after making a winning start to his Raiders career against Manly, the 28-year-old has his eyes firmly on the next three years rather than the past two.
Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Raiders
“I was a bit nervous but also super excited to come down and be able to play with the roster we’ve got here,” Fogarty told NRL.com after Friday night's 18-16 win over Manly in Gosford.
“I moved down to Canberra at the start of November and we’ve fitted in well. It’s a well-structured place. Everyone is so welcoming and genuine and they’ve made it easy for my family.”
On the back of the 32-18 defeat over the Roosters a week earlier the effort to come back from 16 points down against the Sea Eagles was another shot of confidence heading into round one.
“The first 20 minutes was pretty scrappy and we addressed that at the first drink break and at half-time we said if we hold the ball we’ll be a lot better,” Fogarty said.
“It was a stop-start game and we didn’t help ourselves kicking into corners and giving away penalties early in the count, but it was a good learning curve for us.
“Moving forward we just have to hold the ball and stick to our structures and our processes we’ve been working on all off-season.”
If the Raiders are to convert their trial wins over two of last year’s finalists into a strong start to the season proper, much will depend on how Fogarty and Wighton gel.
“Everyone knows how awesome Jacko is as a player and our combination is new and we have to keep working on it now, next week, in the middle of June, the end of the year, we are never going to be a finished product,” Fogarty said.
“Hopefully we can hit our straps at the right time of the year. That’s the way we need to be heading if we are going to do anything special.”
Wighton deploys the run game
When it comes to getting the Green Machine running smoothly, the two Indigenous All Stars have the perfect mentor in coach Ricky Stuart, one of the finest playmakers of his generation.
“Ricky was one of the best in his time and to be able pick his brain at times at training is great,” Fogarty said.
“He doesn’t try to come in in the middle of training and say ‘you have to do this or that’. He’ll let you play and then he might tip you up on something on the go.
“He has given me a real confidence to take the line on when I see something and try to be one of the best kickers in the game.
“Our relationship is new and it’s building and hopefully when there’s tough times during the year our relationship can stay strong and keep the team on track.”