Connor Watson plays for the Newcastle Knights in the National Rugby League competition. An ultra-versatile player with experience in positions from fullback to the back row, Connor is known for his livewire energy and game-breaking ability. The winner of the 2020 Ken Stephen Medal, for the player who makes the greatest contribution to community causes, Watson is a proud Gamilaroi man and is deeply committed to preventing Indigenous youth suicide through the work of the Cultural Choice Association, of which he is a Director.
Watson lives with teammate Kalyn Ponga and is known for being the Chef of the house. “I like to eat healthy, and I believe in everything in moderation,” Watson says. “I’m pretty basic in what I eat, I like to keep things simple and I change it up depending on if it’s a big week or a lighter week at training.”
On a training day, breakfast is rolled oats soaked overnight in almond milk and coconut yoghurt, with peanut butter, honey, fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. On a day off, it’s out for breakfast for an old favourite.
“Usually when I’m finished cooking dinner and cleaning up, I’ll just chuck the oats, almond milk and yoghurt all together and let it soak overnight. When I get up I’ll add the peanut butter, honey and berries with a bit more coconut yoghurt and that’s it. It’s really healthy and filling and is easy to prepare.
“If I go out for breakfast I’ll look for the same thing, a bircher muesli or something like that. If I have the day off, I’ll go out for some breakfast with the boys and that’s normally just scrambled eggs and bacon, straight up.”
With a field session done and gym still to come, fresh fruit at the training facility is in order, often teamed with a pre or post-workout drink from the Isagenix Amped range.
“Morning is normally heavy on the training load but I will grab some fresh fruit when I can for a snack, normally coupled with a pre-workout if we’ve got a gym session still to do or something recovery focused. It’s important to look after the body so you can train and recover well.”
At lunchtime, it’s all about lean protein and fresh vegetables with food provided at the training facility. This means chicken or beef with plenty of fresh vegetables.
“My favourite meal is the steak and veggies, you just can’t beat a good steak. We’re really looked after well at the club and lunches are always healthy and filling. If we’ve got weights after lunch, I use the Isagenix pre-workout, it gives me a little bit of a hit heading into the second part of the training day.
“On a day off, we usually try and link up with a few of the boys and go out for lunch. There’s a few good Japanese sushi places around Newcastle which are good quality and get a bit of a workout, or we’ll go out to a café, where it’s rice and chicken and veggies. A few of the boys might go for a cheeky chicken burger or something.”
Training day done and it’s time for home. On the way, a pick me up burrito bowl is often in order with emphasis on lean meat, salad and carbohydrates.
“It’s pretty healthy, I go for rice, lettuce, tomato and either chicken or pork. It’s nice and clean and not too heavy for an afternoon snack. I don’t want to eat dinner too late and the burrito bowl is enough to top me up without getting full.”
The Watson-Ponga household pumps out simple and fresh meals featuring lots of lean protein, roast vegetables with a small side of starchy carbohydrates from time to time. However, thanks to a number of new recruits to the club, there’s always other options available.
“I’m the cook at home, but we’re pretty lucky in a sense that we’ve managed to get ourselves invited to a few family dinners. Blake Green and his wife Sarah have us over for dinner once a week and so do Tyson and Sammy Frizzell, who just live around the corner from us. Me and Kalyn have sort of weaselled our way into that, which is awesome.
“When we go there it’s lamb shoulders and roast vegetables, I love lamb shoulder so much. My favourite thing to cook at home is steak, I love scotch fillet and I know how to get it right every time. It’s steak and some roast veggies, sweet potato and beans. That’s the classic meal. But we also do salmon poke bowls and that kind of thing which is good for a change up too.”
FAVOURITE CHEAT MEAL?
“I’m a bit of a sucker for an American-style burger, particularly a chicken burger. There’s a couple of good burger spots in Newy which do a good job. It’s only ever the day after a game, I’ll go and hit a place like that for lunch – but only if I felt like I’ve earned it!”
DO YOU HAVE A RECIPE YOU’VE CREATED?
“I’m actually trying to put on a bit of weight, as I’m playing in the forwards this season. So post-dinner, I’ll have a shake with granola, coconut yoghurt, peanut butter, honey, mixed berries, almond milk and a lot of ice. I team it with some whey protein like IsaPro, so it makes me feel nice and full.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK / GET OUT OF USING ISAGENIX PRODUCTS?
“In this industry you need to be training at your best every day. We play a game which is very demanding physically and mentally and you need to recover as quick as you can, so you are ready to go on the training field. Isagenix products help us recover and prepare for training and games, assist with hydration and ensuring we are at our best no matter what stage of the season we are in.”