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Cook accepting of move to bench as Blues adopt a “whatever it takes” mentality


New South Wales dummy-half Damien Cook is accepting of his move to the bench for Origin II in Perth.

Cook, 31, is a veteran at Origin level with 13 appearances to his name, and while his performances haven’t dropped off in the arena, he’s been replaced by Api Koroisau in the starting line-up for the do-or-die game.

While the move made headlines in the media, Cook said a straightforward discussion with coach Brad Fittler was all that was needed to make the move happen.

“We understood there were going to be changes after the first game,” Cook said on SEN 1170 Afternoons.

“With the best of three games, we made a few changes, and I was one of them moving to the bench.

“He (Fittler) got us both together, myself and Api and said we’re going to go with two hookers this week and start with Api.

“He told us pretty straight up, that’s all it was, and you’ve got to move on and do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

With Koroisau playing at club-level alongside fellow starters Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo, Cook hopes their Penrith combination can give the Blues a solid start before he’s injected on the field.

“We weren’t quite on the front foot at much as we would’ve liked to, we were forced to do a lot of defence,” Cook said.

“I definitely thought I had some good parts of the game, but I think the dynamic we’re going to have will help us go on and win the game.

“There are some great combinations there from club-level which hopefully gives us a good start and I can come on and do what whatever needs to be done to get the win.

“Everyone’s got to do their part and it’s whatever it takes.”

One key to victory for the Maroons was their use of two hookers in Game I with Ben Hunt and Harry Grant starring and Cook hopes he and Koroisau can help control the ruck for the Blues in Perth.

“They had a bit of joy Ben Hunt and Harry Grant in that game,” Cook said.

“They won the ruck for most of the game, and for us, that’s where it’s got to be done, we’ve got to be better there.

“Whether it’s with the ball or without it, we’ve got to control it.”

State of Origin II is set for Perth’s Optus Stadium with kick-off billed for 7:50pm on Sunday night.


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