Rookie puts name up in lights for Roosters
RUGBY LEAGUE: Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has guaranteed Auckland Nines hero Connor Watson a role in his top 17 for the upcoming NRL season.
Watson on Sunday joined Shaun Johnson, Adam Reynolds and Corey Norman in being crowned Nines MVP after leading the Tricolours to a maiden title. The 20-year-old only just made his first-grade debut last season, however Robinson said Watson accelerated his development with a breakout campaign at Eden Park.
Now he has been pencilled in to fill the all-important utility role in 2017, backing up first-choice halves Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce, as well as hooker and captain Jake Friend.
"From the first game yesterday, to the last game (on Sunday), the kid grew within that time. And that's what I'm asking for Connor. He's a really important player in our team," Robinson said.
"But we went out and brought Luke Keary for a reason. He's won an NRL (grand) final. He's a very good player and he's shown that.
"Connor's got a big part to play in our team. He's going to play a lot of footy and he knows that, we've already talked about that.
"But the selfless approach is the best that's going to get a team to a finals. That's what we need and everyone's bought into that."
Watson, who played 16 games for the Roosters in his rookie season, admitted he had a lot of fun tearing opposition teams to shreds in the shortened format.
His attacking game flourished the further the Roosters went in the tournament.
"Obviously I can cover a range of positions. Speed's one of my assets and there's a lot more space in the nines to use that," he said. "I definitely thought this game's suited to the way I play. It was awesome today. Last year coming into first grade, we had some pretty disappointing results.
"But to be able to go out there and win six out of the seven games and then come away with the trophy, it's something pretty awesome.
"I didn't really know what to expect coming into the Nines this week, but we just got around each other and we did it in the end."