Rabbitohs' Cook aiming to be head chef

Rabbitohs bench hooker Damien Cook has heaped praise on new recruit Robbie Farah for making him a better player, but the 25-year-old says his goal this year is to unseat the State of Origin representative as South Sydney's starting No.9.

It's a bold statement from Cook, but perfectly understandable given his current form. 

"I always want to start. If you ask any player they'll say they want to start on the field. I want to be in the 17, so whatever's best for the team – whether that's me starting or me on the bench – I'm always looking to improve," Cook said. 

"When Robbie signed I took it on board as an opportunity to learn from Robbie. He's the current NSW hooker and he's very experienced. 

"It was a really good pre-season… I really enjoyed learning from Robbie. It's obviously good for both of us because him coming here has pushed me to be a better player, and I think for Robbie coming to a new club, he wants to prove himself at a new club. I'd like to think he's learnt a few things from me as well."

 


Although Farah arrived at the end of 2016, Cook re-signed with the Bunnies in a sign he was willing to fight for the starting spot.

The former Dragons and Bulldogs hooker revealed he also saw it as an opportunity to learn as much as possible from the representative rake he hopes to one day replace in the sky blue jersey. 

"Origin is definitely a goal, and that's why it's good to have Robbie here," he said.

"He's the current Origin hooker, so if anyone's going to go after him, it's a great opportunity and he's the perfect guy to have in my corner." 

Cook was restricted to just 27 minutes against Wests Tigers in Round 1, coming on when the game was well out of reach in the second half. 

He and Farah seemed to gel well, with the pair rotating the hooking duties with the spare man given a roving commission around the ruck.

Cook, who has won eight of his 13 matches as a starter, said the new combination would need time to develop, hinting things didn't go to plan last week due to early injuries to outside backs Greg Inglis and Hymel Hunt. 

"It's a new role for me. I have done it a little bit in the past, but coming on I've just got to learn the role of being in the middle as a roving player as an extra player on the field,' Cook said. 

"It gives Robbie a bit of a rest too and it allows me to take my chances and try to get the boys' energy back up on the field. I've just got to do my job wherever I am on the field.

"It's a work in progress. That was only Round 1 and obviously we had a few injuries at the start of the game which probably didn't allow us to follow our game plan as much. It will be interesting to see how we go this week. It will get better with time."