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'I was shattered': Haunting memories of 2018 driving Cook

Twelve months on, the pain of losing a preliminary final still hasn't subsided for Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook.

The regret from that 12-4 defeat to eventual premiers Sydney Roosters is driving Cook and the dozen other current South Sydney players who featured in the clash to ensure they don't suffer the same fate this season.

Under the watch of master coach Wayne Bennett, the Rabbitohs can cleanse themselves of 2018's demons by beating Canberra in the grand final qualifier at GIO Stadium on Friday.

"A lot of us who were in that prelim last year remember the feeling of when we lost that," Cook told

"We feel like we really missed a chance there last year. We'll be drawing on that inspiration going into this weekend's game."

And while reviewing last year's result won't be a focal point of their preparation for the Raiders, Cook said the bitter memories remain raw in the minds of those who experienced it.

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"Briefly it might be mentioned," he said.

"But if you were in that game last year, you understand how we missed that opportunity and you remember how you felt after the game.

"Personally talking, I was shattered after that game last year. I don't really want to miss this opportunity.

"We realise how hard it is to get to the prelims and we've got to make sure we take this opportunity and get the win."

It's no surprise Cook is fresh heading into the match given he is a partner in health and wellness centre La Cure at Caringbah in Sydney's south.

Since it opened in May, the dynamic dummy-half has made the most of advanced recovery options like cryotherapy, floating sessions in an epsom salt tank and an infrared sauna.

"I go down there a fair bit during the week. I'm probably heading down there today [Monday] as well. It's been good to have La Cure there," said the NSW Origin and Test No.9.

"It's been a nice little hobby outside of footy. I haven't been too invested in [the business side] just yet and in the off-season I'll get more involved.

"At the moment, I just get to use all the stuff and make sure I'm recovered and ready to go for the weekends."

If the Rabbitohs are to advance to the decider on October 6 and raise the Provan-Summons Trophy, Cook knows the entire squad must do the extra one-percenters to be at their best.

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"We've got two massive games in front of us. Everyone's got to make their small sacrifices and just fully commit to these next two weeks," he said.

"Obviously we've got to get through Canberra this week and move on to the big one the week after.

"We've played some good footy this year. We were a top-four side which gave us that second chance to play in the finals.

"We needed it and we took it. We beat Manly [last Friday] and now we move on to the prelim."

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