New Knight Watson backs pursuit of Pearce
IT could cost him a dream NRL halves start but Newcastle recruit Connor Watson has thrown his support behind the Knights' pursuit of ex-Sydney Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce.
Country NSW utility Watson has made no secret of his desire to secure the Knights No.6 jersey in 2018 after being released a year early by the Roosters and signing a three-season deal with Newcastle.
The 21-year-old knocked back a Wests Tigers offer to replace James Tedesco at fullback to pursue his childhood goal of emulating Andrew Johns by running out in the halves for Newcastle.
Watson welcomes the prospect of NSW playmaker Pearce arriving at Newcastle despite the halves headache it would create.
Besides Watson, ex-NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson, emerging five-eighth Brock Lamb and rookie Jack Cogger are also vying for starting spots for the 2018 season.
Asked about Newcastle's interest in Pearce, Watson said: "It would be good (signing Pearce). He's a world-class player.
"He's played over 12 years of first grade, nearly 250 games, won the competition and played Origin.
"He'd be an awesome acquisition if that happens. We will see."
Watson said five-eighth was his preferred position despite filling in admirably for injured Roosters fullback Michael Gordon this season.
"That's the plan. That was a big reason why I came up here," he said of starting at No.6 for Newcastle.
"I could have stayed at the Roosters and kept playing off the bench and not played that many minutes.
"But I think the biggest opportunity was up here.
"There are no guarantees in rugby league, I just have to train my best."
Watson - who played 38 games for the Roosters from 2016 - will reunite with former Tricolours Aidan Guerra and Shaun Kenny-Dowall at Newcastle.