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Watson never gave up working for his goal

There were certainly roadblocks but there was never any retreating from the goal Connor Watson set himself as each Rugby League season rolled around.

Watson was denied virtually two full seasons by injuries – a ruptured Achilles sidelining him for seven months in 2020 and a torn patella ruling him out for all of 2023. Then were others like shoulder, foot and two fractures of his larynx – the most recent earlier this year.

He turned 28 in May and there were questions if his age might count against him.

“But I always wanted it to happen. It was always a goal,” Watson told

“Every year I’d tell myself ‘I want to play Origin; I want to play Origin’ but it never eventuated through things like form, injuries, lack of consistency.

“As I’ve matured more with my footy I think I’ve been more consistent more often.

“The changing of the guard with Madge (coach Michael Maguire) coming on board might have helped with that kind of different approach.

“So the timing was good.”

Watson wasn’t the slightest bit concerned about his age.

When he and Westpac NSW Blues teammate Angus Crichton kicked off their 2024 in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup playing in the Sydney Roosters back row against the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, he was a happy man.

“Those two games in NSW Cup and I was finally back playing footy – a truly great feeling.

“I just want to play footy. That’s been the big thing for me this year.

“After you miss so much time being on the sidelines, you just want to get out there and it doesn’t matter where.”

Watson has come off the bench and started at five-eighth, lock and hooker for the Roosters NRL side. He hasn’t spoken to Maguire yet about where he might be used in Origin.

“It’s not so much about what position you play the game, it’s about playing good football in that position.

“It’s about what you can bring to that position and playing it your way.”

While Watson is a prime example of that, he cites his former Roosters teammate Latrell Mitchell as another.

“We played SG Ball and Jersey Flegg together and then two years of first grade at the Roosters.

“One of the great sites in Rugby League is seeing Latrell on your team and seeing him running the length of the field.

“Just sit back and watch – it’s epic.”

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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