‘‘I’ve always seen myself as a kicker and it’s been about improving that part of my game,’’ Cook said.
‘‘It’s all about good game management. The likes of Cameron Smith do it well and that’s something I’d like to take away from him. We use ‘Reyno’ a lot for our kicking and Cody has a great kick on him as well. It’s just about adding a different dimension to our game and my game. Wayne has told me not to over-think things. He told me, ‘You know what works for you’, listen to advice, but how I’m the one with the ball and I have to make the decisions.’’
Bennett’s hooker at Brisbane, Andrew McCullough, had three times the amount of kick metres as Cook last year.
After starting last season in battle with Robbie Farah for the starting hooker berth, Cook went on to achieve every representative honour and then emerged as the face of South Sydney in the NRL’s latest promotion. He quipped he only got the call because Greg Inglis was unable to film the running segments because of his knee.
Bennett said of Cook’s kicking game in Mudgee after the final trial: ‘‘We’re encouraging him to do it, he has a wonderful boot on him and I couldn’t believe how good he could kick them. Reynolds is wonderful, but you can’t have too many of those guys. And he wants to kick them.’’
Meanwhile, Ron Coote, the Rabbitoh international who famously joined the Roosters in 1972, was interested to see how the latest Redfern defector, Angus Crichton, performed at the SCG.
Crichton spent three years at Souths and has been named on the bench for his Tri-colours debut.
Coote said Souths fans would find it impossible to forgive Crichton for jumping into bed with the Bondi club.
‘‘You don’t turn your back on South Sydney,’’ Coote said. ‘‘He can expect a lot of flak from South Sydney supporters, as I did and others who have done the same thing.’’