Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Connor Watson has played 62 first grade games for the Newcastle Knights since the start of 2018 where he has been used as a five-eighth, lock, hooker and bench utility player.
However, the Sydney Roosters have recently confirmed that they had signed Watson on a two-year-deal that will commence in 2022, bringing the 25-year-old back to where his career started, as in 2016, Watson made his NRL debut for the Roosters and would go on to play 38 games for the club before joining Newcastle.
Watson’s biggest claim to fame currently would have to be his adaptability, as the Dubbo native has displayed the ability to make a seamless transition from one position to another and continue to perform at a high level.
In 2021, Watson has scored two tries, made 69 tackle breaks, 615.7 post-contact metres and 593 tackles for an efficiency rate of 95%.
— Sydney Roosters 🐓 (@sydneyroosters) August 17, 2021
The Roosters have been severely suffering from injury blows this season, so bringing in a versatile player with 100 NRL games over his belt as cover is a smart move, as he can fill in as halfback if Luke Keary was to reinjure himself again next year, whilst also being able to slot in at hooker or lock if Sam Verrills or Victor Radley were to succumb to injury once again. In a full-strength Roosters side Watson likely plays off the bench, filling in for Victor Radley when he needs a break.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson seems to have been the deciding factor in getting this deal done, as Watson has agreed to less money than he is on at the Knights, a shorter deal and fewer playing minutes, which goes to show just how good the 44-year-old is as a coach and the influence that he has over his players.
It is also yet another example of a player accepting less money purely so that they can play for one of Australia’s sports most successful institutions, as the Roosters have become known for being able to attract and keep world-class talent on less money than they would be getting elsewhere.
They do say home is where the heart is and it seems Watson’s heart never really left the Bondi based club.