Bulldogs No.7 fback Jack Cogger looks set to fulfil the enormous promise he displayed from a young age thanks to the simple advice of halves partner Kieran Foran.
A schoolboy star who was a key figure in Newcastle teams that dominated the junior rep scene, Cogger has struggled to establish himself as an NRL regular since making his debut for the Knights in 2016.
Prior to joining the Bulldogs in the off-season, Cogger had not played more than five NRL games in succession but after starting the year playing Canterbury Cup has earned the confidence of coach Dean Pay to partner Foran in the halves.
With his side leading by just two points with 11 minutes left to play, it was Cogger who took the line on to score the game's final try – and his first for the Bulldogs – in Saturday’s 22-16 win over the Titans, the advice of the Kiwi Test star ringing in his ears.
"A simple tip that ‘Foz’ gives is to run the ball, take the line on, and it worked out today,” Cogger told NRL.com.
Match Highlights: Titans v Bulldogs
"He's obviously a really good runner of the footy and that's one thing that I need to get better at.
"That's what you get away from. You get so into the great line runners outside you like Josh Jackson and Will Hopoate so of course I want to give them the ball but sometimes you've got to take the line on so the next time they have a bit of space around them.
"Today a couple of opportunities popped up and thankfully for me I took them and one of them got me my first try for the Bulldogs.”
After an awful start that saw them trail 16-0 it was a bust by Cogger that finally gave the Bulldogs some field position midway through the first half, Foran laying on tries for Marcelo Montoya and Jayden Okunbor in quick succession to get his side back in the contest.
Montoya picks it up at pace
Urged by Pay to run the ball more, Cogger admitted that it was a part of his game that had gone missing as he transitioned into the top grade.
"You could say I lost it a little bit when I came into first grade because you're so worried about the structures and making sure you're doing the right thing for the guys outside you,” said the 21-year-old following his 27th NRL game.
"Going in between the grades last year and starting in reserve grade this year, just working out those things that are keeping me out of first grade full-time.
"One of them was my running game probably and being a threat to the line, along with a number of other things.
"Once you get the respect from the players around you and you get the opportunity to take the line on and you come up with the right play at the right time, next time you do it they'll be right beside you again.
“You got to that level for a reason so you've got to back your ability a little bit.”