South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook has revealed his determination to return to the NSW Blues jersey after he was overlooked for Apisai Koroisau in Game I.
Cook’s form in the red and myrtle wasn’t enough for coach Brad Fittler who will enter the State of Origin opener with only one recognised hooker.
The axed dummy half isn’t staying down-trodden by the decision though, understanding the reasons behind Fittler’s decision and providing his support for the Blues.
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“I really appreciated the call from ‘Freddy’ (Fittler), I feel like I have a really good relationship with him, and I don’t feel like I’m done in that jersey at all,” Cook said on Friday.
“When the call came, I was quite disappointed, as you would be. Some of the best memories you get in your career come with playing State of Origin. Next week will be hard to watch because you will miss that feeling of running out there and playing in that team.
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“As soon as I answered the call, I felt that (vibe) from Freddy. Straight off the bat he said, ‘I want to get it out of the way and tell you I’ve gone with Api’. After that we went through a few things. We had a good chat. He didn’t rush the phone call. I reassured him if he ever needs me, I’ll be ready to go.
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“I never took (my spot) for granted. And no matter where the Tigers are coming on the ladder, I still think Api has played some really good footy.”
Cook will now return his focus to South Sydney, who are coming off an embarrassing 36-16 loss to Parramatta last Friday.
His side still remain in second though and will want to bounce back against the Raiders on Saturday.
For him, the potential for a premiership winning campaign is easy way to distract himself from the disappointment of missing out on Origin.
“This year has been the most relaxed I’ve been with the Origin stuff,” he said.
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“It’s because I’m getting older, and I haven’t won a premiership yet, and that’s my main goal.
“I want to get back to winning, playing our footy. That’s what I want this weekend.”
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