The resilience and athleticism of South Sydney and NSW Origin hooker Damien Cook has earned him a few days off.
Cook backed up in the 21-20 Rabbitohs win over Manly at ANZ Stadium on Saturday playing another 80 minutes after his heroics in the Blues win at the same venue three nights earlier.
The quick-thinking and speedy No.9 made 44 tackles for NSW, as well as scoring a try, and then ratcheted that up to 53 against Manly.
Coach Wayne Bennett promised a him a few days off after first joking with him that he'd set up a training on Sunday to try and quench his appetite for work.
"I will but he's an amazing athlete. He's sitting in the change rooms right now and doesn't even look like he's played two games of football in three days," Bennett said.
"He's not even sweating. We'll give him a few days off and train him pretty lightly when he's back on Wednesday."
Cook was not the only Origin player to back-up. Lock Cameron Murray and winger Dane Gagai also did – Gagai scoring one of the Rabbitohs' three tries on Saturday night. But his Souths and Queensland teammate Ethan Lowe was rested.
"He did 55 tackles and 15 hit-ups [in Origin]. I just didn't see the point in putting him out there today and punishing him any more," Bennett said.
After four straight losses, the win over Manly has stopped the rot. The Rabbitohs are also getting a few players back from injury – like Adam Doueihi and Braidon Burns – plus a few injections from other clubs like James Roberts and Jaydn Su'A from the Broncos.
More importantly they grabbed a win without captain Sam Burgess.
"We needed to win. It didn't matter how we won it, we just needed to win and get some confidence back in the place," Bennett said.
"With eight weeks to go in the season it's a good time to settle our side down.
"Players are coming back. We had six out today but that should be a few less next week and we won't be adding any more by the look of things.
"We're starting to manage things and hopefully in the next eight weeks we can bring it all together."
Burgess has an infection after his shoulder operation. Bennett said "he's close" but there's no guarantees he'll be travelling to Townsville for the Cowboys in round 18.
Match: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Round 17 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- LIVE PASS
There's also no apparent rhyme or reason in Bennett's eye of when the bunker becomes involved in adjudicating tries.
Manly centre Moses Suli fumbled the ball twice on Saturday night. The first time it led to a try by Cade Cust (18th minute) and the second, Suli ran 75 metres himself in the 47th.
Bennett thought the first wasn't a try.
"What fascinates me with all this stuff, is when you've got that kind of disputed ball on the ground, why wouldn't you just go and have a look?
"I know I'm not a fan of that… I like them to make decisions and own them. But at the same time that's a moment with so much doubt there, happened so quickly, just go have a look.
"How is that going to impact on the game?"
Sign up for a free NRL Account to access this video and other exclusive content.
Already have an NRL Account?
Not sure? Learn more about NRL Account
And it well could have in a one-point ball game.
"I could have been sitting here with a different attitude all together. But we can live with that, when we shouldn't have to. That's what the technology is there for."
Bennett felt Suli's second fluffed handling as he tried to pick up a wayward Cook pass was a try.
"Again on that occasion when it looked more like a try than the first one, he goes to the video ref to decide."