Sport NRL 2020: Newcastle Knights utility Connor Watson setting his sights on No.9 jersey despite Jayden Brailey arrival

18:30  26 november  2019
18:30  26 november  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Knights utility Connor Watson knows he will have a fight on his hands to play hooker in 2020 Knights utility Connor Watson aiming to become club's first choice hooker in 2020 despite hooker in 2020 - but says he welcomes the challenge that new signing Jayden Brailey will bring next year.

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They may have signed promising hooker Jayden Brailey to play hooker in 2020, but Newcastle Knights utility Connor Watson won't be giving up the position without a fight.

  NRL 2020: Newcastle Knights utility Connor Watson setting his sights on No.9 jersey despite Jayden Brailey arrival © Getty Images

The 23-year old will battle it out with the club's big recruit heading into next season - and both will no doubt be looking to impress new coach Adam O'Brien in the lead up.

Watson is off-contract at the end of 2020 and despite having enormous talent and potential, has yet to lock down a position in the NRL and make it his own.

But after performing well at hooker in 2019 for the Knights, he wants to get another opportunity in the middle after playing some of the best football of his career.

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Connor Watson (born 31 May 1996) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays as a five-eighth, fullback and hooker for the Newcastle Knights in the NRL . He previously played for the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League , and played for the Country Origin side.

The 2019 Newcastle Knights season was the 32nd in the club's history. Coached by Nathan Brown, interim coached by Kristian Woolf after Brown's contract was terminated

“I’m coming into a big year for myself personally, I’m off contract so obviously there is a big emphasis on me playing good football this year," he said.

“I played a fair bit of 9 last year and really enjoyed it. I feel like I played my best footy there and the best I have played for a while.

"I would like to build on that but we’ve got Jayden here now as well so there is competition.

"I think the thing for me is to put my best foot forward in a position, but 9 is probably my preference."

Both players will be vying for the one spot, but it is expected that Brailey will be given first crack at dummy half.

And that might not be all doom and gloom for Watson, who has played plenty of football in the halves and could take the seemingly vacant five-eighth role in 2020.

"I trained at five-eighth yesterday, and I did a bit of lock today and some hooker last week," he said.

“For me to play 6 I will have to work on my game management and my kicking. But the thing is, if I am to play 6, I’m not a natural one and I’m more of a ball-runner so I have to go and play to my ability.

"It’s the other areas I need to improve on in case I’m called upon. If Pearcey (Mitchell Pearce) gets tackled on 4th, I need to be able to finish off the sets better.

"For me personally, I have to play 6 how I naturally play it which is through my running and attacking. Other guys are better ball-players than me but that’s not how I play 6."

Homage paid to Qld activist Sam Watson .
A service will be held in Brisbane on Friday to remember the late Sam Watson, who spent decades advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.Mr Watson, a Wangerriburra and Birri Gubba man, passed away in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital surrounded by his loved ones last week.

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