In a year that saw the Rabbitohs make the Grand Final, one man who (statistically speaking) did not perform at his peak was Damien Cook. Despite the increased pace of play, introduction of the “turnover tackle” scoring and Rabbitohs performance, Damien Cook had his worst statistical year since becoming a full time hooker. With that should theoretically come fantasy value, so lets have a look….
In his 70+ minute performances, the scoring looks like this:
Ignoring the 14-17 from now on, we see that he had a sharp decline, roughly 6 points per game worse than his next worst season. So where did the points come from?
As we can see, it wasn’t anything in particular that Cook did poorly outside of the running metres, more just that he didnt have one area where he really excelled. He was dead last in run metres and tries while being third last in tackle busts and not setting a PB in any category.
With news coming today that Cook is looking to take more control of the team and “express his running game”, I want to conservatively project him to boost his run metres per game by 20 (2ppg), which should bring his tries up to around 15% (0.5 ppg) and an additional 1-2 tackles per game (lets say 1.5ppg). I would also expect him to contribute something to the kicking game – not much, lets say 30 metres per game (his 2019 numbers) so 1 more point.
This would take him from 57.5 points to 62.5 points per game. Being a middle field player, Cook is bound to make turnover tackles, in 2021 it was about 37% of the time or 1.5 points per game, which would return Cook to a 64 average, which would only be equal to his 2020 season. He does take a small downgrade with the new scoring, roughly one point per game, but we can work that out with variance. Realistically, the upside is there for a season of 66+ points per game, which would likely have him as a top 3-5 scorer for 2022.
The argument against Cook is that he is turning 31 this year, and perhaps the new style of football being played down the edges doesn’t suit him. Personally, I would back him to have a big year, and I will be looking to bring him into my side as early as possible.