It’s game on for Damien Cook and his Rabbitohs teammates in Auckland tomorrow (Saturday) as they prepare to open their 2016 Nines campaign against the Roosters.
The men in red and green flew out of Sydney yesterday, signalling the beginning of their 2016 playing schedule. For Cook, it ‘all’ begins now.
“It’s become the start of the footy season now and we’re all ready for that,” said Cook of the Nines.
“We’re just looking forward to hearing that first whistle and getting stuck into it. It’s a great thing to be a part of – having all the clubs and players together in one place and enjoying some footy over in New Zealand.
“We’ve prepared well all off-season, so we’re ready to get stuck into the footy.”
Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire, named a strong outfit to contest the tournament’s Waiheke pool this year – a pool that includes the likes of the Roosters, Storm, and Eels.
Now playing in his second Nines tournament, Cook is proud of the Rabbitohs line-up named to contest the tournament.
“I think this is a really solid team,” said Cook.
“Plenty of speed and good size as well – you’ve got the likes of ‘Tommy’ Burgess who will probably be a bit of a handful with less players on the field.
“They may only be short halves, but you still need to have that size to play through the middle and then have the skill out wide. We’ve got a bit of both fortunately.”
The Nines will be the first opportunity for Cook to don the red and green jersey, and after working hard all pre-season –predominantly at hooker – the versatile newcomer is ready to play his role for the team.
“I’m ready to play wherever the team needs me,” said Cook.
“Obviously dummy half is my strength, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself out on the wing – I played a bit of wing at the Nines last year, so wherever Madge and the team needs me, I’ll be ready to go.”
Rabbitohs 2016 Auckland Nines Draw:
(Day 1) v Roosters 12.30pm local (10.30am AEDT), v Storm 4.50pm local (2.50pm AEDT);
(Day 2) Eels 11am local (9am AEDT).