Michael Dobson has a point to prove in his NRL return at the Newcastle Knights, says former teammate Cory Paterson.
Newcastle Knights five-eighth Michael Dobson turned his back on becoming a “superstar” in the English Super League for one last crack at the NRL.
The 27-year-old Junee product might be an anonymous name in Australia, but after his two-year stint with Canberra he forged a highly successful career at Hull Kingston Rovers, leading the club to fourth place in only their second season in the top flight before finishing his tenure there as captain.
Rival clubs like Salford tried to lure him away with attractive offers, but Dobson decided to gamble it all to return home and fight it out for a spot at the Knights.
Now he finds himself in the No.6 jersey to start the season against Penrith, with star playmaker Jarrod Mullen out for an extended period with a hamstring tear.
Wests Tigers recruit Cory Paterson scored seven tries in 17 games at Hull KR, primarily running holes off Dobson, and says his former teammate is up for a fight.
Paterson, himself a Knights junior, is best mates with Mullen, but believes Dobson has what it takes to fill his shoes and keep Newcastle’s premiership ambitions ticking along.
“He’s got a bit of a point to prove. If he didn’t come back now, he’d never have come back,” Paterson said.
“I think the time is right for him. He’s gone out of his comfort zone. He could have stayed over there and been a superstar, but he’s come back and backed himself.
“He’s got to be commended for that so hopefully it goes well for him.
“He’s a fiery little fella. It’s the competitive nature in him.”
Paterson has been named on the Tigers bench for this week’s clash with St George Illawarra and says he’s in a similar boat to Dobson.
There was plenty of interest in the wide-running second rower to remain in England, but the former Knight and North Queensland Cowboy wants to fulfil the early promise he showed as an NRL player back in 2007.
“The NRL is the best competition in the world and that’s where I want to be playing,” he said.
“I want to get back to some of the form I showed when I was a bit younger.
“Going over there was a good thing for me, it sparked the fire up a bit inside.”