Souths' hooker conundrum still unsolved

Souths' hooker conundrum still unsolved

By his own admission, the hooking conundrum at the South Sydney Rabbitohs was always going to be a learning curve for everyone at the club in 2017 according to coach Michael Maguire. 

Whether the rotation of Robbie Farah and Damien Cook in the No.9 jersey has worked or not can only be determined by the competition ladder – and it's not great reading if you're a Bunnies supporter.

Both Farah and Cook have taken turns in the starting role throughout the year with the other relegated to the bench, while Cook was left out of the side altogether back in Round 19.

The fourth change-up of the season for the pair was a fortnight ago and at the time Cook could be forgiven for thinking he hadn't started at all.

His last chance prior was in April.

"I know it’s late in the year but I've only just started in the starting position so I'm going to keep on working on it," Cook said earlier in the week. 

South Sydney have won five of 13 matches with Farah starting in the No.9 jumper this season, while Cook's record is two wins from seven starts – including last week's two-point win over the Dragons.

He pumped out 70 minutes in the encounter – the most since March. 

"I feel like I handled it fairly well," he said.

"There's still a few things I need to work on my game but I'll just keep on working on those things and they'll come week-to-week."

With Farah contracted for another season at Redfern, the battle for the starting spot is set to continue over the upcoming summer. 

‌Cook is set to use the final month of football to link with the spine that could send a late message to the coach for the off-season. 

"Building those combinations is good, AJ (Alex Johnston) put me over for a try on the weekend and linking up with the halves I feel like we've got a good connection there and we're going to keep building that," he said.

"On the weekend it worked for us and everyone did their job but it's only one win in a disappointing season."

Cook will line up against his former club Canterbury on Friday night, ironically with dummy-half troubles of their own with Michael Lichaa on the outer and half Moses Mbye slotting into the position.

It was in 2015 that the Helensburgh junior was told to move on from Belmore with Lichaa the preferred rake at the club. 

Motivation to finish the season strong will not be hard to find for the man dubbed "Mr Professional" by his teammates. 

"You always love coming up against old teams," Cook said.

"And the Dragons as well, that's where I started so [it's] two weeks in a row. It's not hard at all [to get up for matches], you still love coming [to training] and we're just trying to finish off best we can.

"There's a few close games we lost and it's sad to not play in the finals but we can look at how simple the game is and really pull it back."