Jack Cogger still clearly remembers the carnage.
It was two years ago almost to the day and an 18-year-old Cogger was on debut for the Knights at home against Cronulla.
Around him were six other team-mates who were no older than 20, confronting a red-hot Sharks side headed towards a drought-breaking NRL premiership win.
“Looking back on it and thinking about the guys I had inside and outside me, our whole left edge in that game had a combination of 10 NRL games against Cronulla, who were in the middle of the year they won the premiership,” Cogger recalls.
“And they were on a bit of a run as well.”
Sharks winger Valentine Holmes scored four tries in an 11-try, 62-0 drubbing, the biggest ever defeat dished out to the Knights at home.
“I remember it quite clearly. It would be nice to get one back on them this weekend,” Cogger said.
“I know the squad has changed a lot since then and I think we are in a way better position going into this game then we were two years ago.”
That “over-whelming” experience hasn’t done the young Knights halfback any long-term harm.
He has only had fleeting NRL appearances [11 in total] since then but as he puts it, the up-and-down nature of his NRL career is all part of the learning experience.
“I think it is all part of the journey to be honest. Not many people get to debut in first grade and stay there for 10 or 15 years,” he said.
“A lot of people go in and out and I’m one of them. Every time I go back, I’m taking it in my stride and getting better and hopefully, next time I get the opportunity and I’m up again, I can be better for the run.”
Not many people get to debut in first grade and stay there for 10 or 15 years.- Jack Cogger
Knights coach Nathan Brown is banking on exactly that as the side prepares to take on the Sharks on Sunday at Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium.
Cogger has had three appearances in the top grade this season.
He played outside Mitchell Pearce at five-eighth in a win over the Wests Tigers in Tamworth, the game Pearce tore his pec.
A week later, he was at halfback alongside Connor Watson in the halves in the side’s win over Manly at Brookvale but lost his place to Brock Lamb after the Knights’ loss to South Sydney the following week.
With Lamb fracturing his cheek-bone against the Titans last weekend, Cogger has been called on once again.
“You go back and work on the things that got you out of first grade I suppose and that’s what I did,”he said.
Not surprisingly, his kicking game has been his focus.
Get that right on Sunday and steer the team around and his job will be done.
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