It was just his first game of the year, but according to Canterbury skipper James Graham, it was enough to land Damien Cook on the NRL’s latest highlights reel.
Cook launched himself over the deadball line and into the game’s next advertisement with a remarkable try assist for teammate Sam Perrett in Friday night’s 32-18 win over South Sydney.
Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson had set himself up to ice a perfect first half with a one-pointer on the halftime siren, however his attempt was charged down into the in-goal by the Rabbitohs.
The ricochet looked certain to go dead before a chasing Cook flung himself at the ball and saving it for Perrett to break South Sydney’s spirit.
He had earlier opened the scoring when he latched onto a Frank Pritchard offload, but it was his miracle play at the end of the half that drew high praise from his captain.
“It was an outstanding play,” Graham said of the play.
“A lot of the highlight reels of the NRL is full of them. Kevin Naiqama against us here and other players do similar things and it’s all over the adverts for the months, weeks and maybe years to come.”
After the match, the 24-year-old hooker revealed he was close to signing a new deal with the club for next season.
“My contract finishes up (this year),” he said.
“But the Dogs, they’ve spoken to me.
“Des (Hasler) obviously wants to keep me around, which is good. Hopefully this just helps the matter.”
Hasler said the club knew the former St George-Illawarra player would be a comfortable fit into the side in place of regular No. 9 Michael Lichaa, who suffered a season-ending ankle fracture last week.
Cook’s last NRL game was in July last year.
“I thought he didn’t miss a beat out there,” Hasler said.
“He was outstanding and certainly didn’t look out of place out there.
“He got himself involved, he came up with some big plays for us, and chased everything and tackled everything that moved.”