Cook: A Golden Opportunity
Saturday 19 January 2013 9:00 AM
St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Damien Cook is enjoying a new challenge after making the step up from the Illawarra Cutters to first grade this preseason.
Cook has had to adjust to a rigorous training schedule with the Dragons, and a heavy physical and mental investment far greater than what he is used to.
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The Helensburgh junior believes he can bring a different dynamic to the hooker position because he plays a different style to Cam King and incumbent stater Mitch Rein, as well as adding depth through his versatility on the field.
Cook believes that the Illawarra Cutters is becoming a successful stepping stone for players looking to break into the NRL.
“Obviously I’m really excited, this is my first preseason and I’ve learnt a lot; it’s been tough but I’ve enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the start of the season,” said Cook.
“Last year I was with the Cutters so I was only training three days a week, this year it’s six days a week full time so it’s a big difference.
“I’m a bit tired both mentally and physically but we do get break days which always helps a lot.
“I’d love to get an opportunity to play at some point this season whenever it is, I feel like I can step up to the task.
“I think I can offer something a little different, I play a different style to both Cameron King and Mitch Rein so hopefully I get my opportunity to show that.
“I’ve played a lot of different positions, last year I trained mostly at hooker but played a lot on the wing and I’ve also played some fullback as well.
“I’m pretty comfortable playing almost anywhere on the field so hopefully I get that opportunity.
“I think the Cutters was a great opportunity for me to show what I can do and my aim was to get a preseason training run with an NRL side, so the Cutters provided that for me.
“Both myself and Shannon Wakeman have made the step up to the Dragons first grade side this year and I think that shows how good the Cutters is as a stepping stone.”