Cameron McInnes will face off against former South Sydney teammate Damien Cook for NSW selection.Former clubmates Damien Cook and Cameron McInnes are set to square off this weekend, in what looms as a potential audition for the hooker’s role in the NSW squad for the first State of Origin game.
The NRL match between McInnes’s St George Illawarra and Cook’s South Sydney looms as a potential mini selection Origin trial for the two men, who were Rabbitohs teammates for just one season/
McInnes started the majority of games at hooker in 2016, while Cook, who joined Souths from the Bulldogs, was primarily used off the bench.
Cook also started the 2017 season on the bench behind the vastly experienced Robbie Farah, after McInnes left to join the Dragons.
It’s been a different story this year, with Cook starting the season in the No.9 jersey and holding it through the Rabbitohs first nine games.
Going to Sunday’s match at ANZ Stadium, McInnes may have an slight edge, but Cook, who started his NRL career at the Dragons in 2013, is also considered a chance of making the Blues squad.
“I don’t think Cooky is even worried about playing Origin, or coming up against the other nine in Cam,” Souths captain Greg Inglis said.
“We just want Cooky to solely focus on his job, and down the track if he gets selected for Origin, then that’s gone on the back of the hard work he’s done.
“What you guys don’t see is the hard work he’ does here, all you guys see is the 80 minutes he puts in each week.
“But the amount of work he does here away from the cameras and that, the more we can get him focused on just doing those sort of things right, the better chance he has.”
Inglis said 26-year-old Cook was growing in confidence each week and doing a number of things to help his side.
“He’s doing the little things, his talk and his selection of pass and his running,’ Inglis said.
“Picking the right time to run and when to ball play.
“He’s worked on his defence all pre-season and he’s shown that he can play 80 minutes.”