>Paul Cooke is no longer a Hull FC player, forget what the spin doctors and lawyers will tell you, his days in back and white are done.
Whilst Hull FC may stubbornly insist that by the letter of the law he is theirs, despite ink never touching paper on the contract renewal (according to Cooke), the player’s heart is already home on the East-side again.
The posturing from the RFL and FC may serve to delay the move. But the fact that Rovers coach Justin Morgan, announced a 19-man squad for the Giants game, with that extra spot designated for a ‘player to be named’ indicates the bullish attitude of the Super League new boys. Other than prising some compensatory payment from their neighbours the Hull FC stance will serve no purpose.
What this episode does do though is add extra spice to the forthcoming Millennium Magic matchup between the two clubs. It’s my guess that the legal eagles from FC will be trying to delay Cooke’s move until after that game. If they fail it would make for an explosive confrontation on-and-off field.
The bigger question is whether Cooke can make the difference and keep the Robins in Super League; vital with the imminent arrival of the franchise era.
In harness with skipper James Webster he would form a potent organisational unit at half back and could provide the creativity in attack that has been so lacking in the Robins’ displays this season. For all their effort they’ve found it hard to break down defences. Cooke could unlock those closed doors.
So, his arrival could be bad news for the struggling Salford City Reds who need a revival of (Huddersfield) Giants proportions to escape a potentially disastrous descent into National League rugby.
Despite winning in East Hull last weekend the City Reds have been massively disappointing this season; looking disorganised, unfit and clueless on occasions.
That whole club needs to stand-up and be counted this Friday when they host Wigan. There’s usually no shortage of grunt in these games … and maybe that’s what Salford need to kick start their season (to use Stevo’s words ) “it’s getting tasty out there”. Watch out for “the claret”.