NRL| Knights halfback Jack Cooger in Bulldogs' sights for next year

Knights back-up halfback Jack Cogger’s management will seek a formal meeting with the club in a bid to have him released from the final year of his contract with speculation mounting Canterbury want him to partner Kieran Foran in the halves next season.

Despite being off contract at the end of next season and behind Mitchell Pearce and Brock Lamb in the halfback pecking order at the Knights, the club has publicly stated Cogger will be going nowhere in 2018.

But his manager Michael Newton is hopeful the Knights may relax their stance for the good of the player.

“There are three or four clubs interested in Jack and one of those clubs has indicated they want to sign him straight away,” Newton said.

“I’ve asked permission to negotiate with clubs for 2018 but they [the Knights] have said no. I’m hoping that might change.

“My next move is to request a formal meeting with Phil Gardner [Knights CEO] and Darren Mooney [head of football].

“If we don’t have any joy, he’ll obviously stay and play out of the year. He loves the club and gets on really well with Browny [coach Nathan Brown] but at the same time, everyone knows his opportunities there are going to be limited.”

Newton said there was no way he would take Cogger out of the club unless there was an opportunity to be a starting halfback at a rival.

“Jack wouldn’t want to go anywhere else just to be a back-up,” he said.

Canberra is one of the clubs who have expressed an interest in Cogger for 2019 but the Bulldogs head the list of potential suitors.

Cogger and new Canterbury coach Dean Pay have worked closely together in the NSW Under 20 representative team and the Bulldogs are light on for halves with Moses Mbye expected to be switched to fullback next season.  

Newcastle’s hard-line stance in refusing to grant releases to either Cogger or Lamb is insurance against injury next season.

“Both players have been in our system for a fair while and we have developed them and we’d like to try and keep both long-term,” coach Brown said.

Target: Knights halfback Jack Cogger in the sights of the Canterbury Bulldogs. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Target: Knights halfback Jack Cogger in the sights of the Canterbury Bulldogs. Picture: Jonathan Carroll