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20 stars for 2022 | Josh Cook

Among numerous names making their way to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2022, it’s Josh Cook – one without NRL experience as of yet – who has a big opportunity on the horizon.

The hooker position has been one of the areas in need of improvement at the Bulldogs and the signing of a genuine No.9 in Cook from South Sydney is an astute addition. He has been learning his craft under his namesake, and Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues rake, Damien Cook.

So much so that now the uncapped 22-year-old is being considered as starting dummy-half for Trent Barrett’s side in the season to come.

Cook has proven his talent in the lower grades at the Rabbitohs, representing the NSW U16s Origin team in 2015 and being a vital member of South Sydney’s 2019 Jersey Flegg Cup champions. That side included Jaxson Paulo, Lachlan Ilias, Blake Taaffe, and Peter Mamouzelos.

In The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup he has made 16 appearances, scoring two tries, producing four try assists and having two line-breaks, four line-break assists and 12 tackle busts while averaging 31.8 tackles.

Now embarking on a new career chapter with Canterbury-Bankstown, Cook’s latest move could present the greatest chance to fulfil his ambition of playing NRL.

In an interview after arriving at Belmore to begin the 2022 pre-season, the proud Bidjigal man was excited about where the Bulldogs were headed and spoke of his goal to debut in first grade.

“I think for my development I had a good few years under Damien Cook and I’ve learnt a lot, so I want to take what I’ve learnt from Wayne (Bennett) and Damien and develop my skills into becoming a first grade footballer,” Cook said.

“Definitely an ultimate goal is to debut (in the NRL).

“It’s always been a goal, but it’s not just to debut – it’s to cement my spot whether it’s week in, week out, to make the team and the club better, and to make myself better.”