He may be one of rugby league’s best hookers but no-one is safe from a Benji Marshall spray – not even Rabbitohs star Damien Cook.
He may be one of rugby league’s best hookers but no-one is safe from a Benji Marshall spray – not even Rabbitohs star Damien Cook.

‘Two s**t passes’: Benji roasts NRL’s best hooker

He may be rugby league's best hooker but no one is safe from a Benji Marshall "spray" - not even South Sydney and NSW State of Origin champion Damien Cook.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Rabbitohs recruit Marshall verballed Cook at training after copping two "s**t" passes this week from the dummy-half. Cook claimed he was "shocked" at Marshall's censure.

Marshall's condemnation initially rattled Cook, who then realised he was not above criticism, particularly from a player of Benji's stature.

It was a clear indication to Souths players that Marshall - who turns 36 next Thursday - had joined the Rabbitohs to lead and inspire.

"The other day I threw a couple of bad passes to him at training and he sprayed me for it," Cook said.

"Benji told me straight away. As much as it shocked me, it was good to hear."

No one is safe from a Benji Marshall spray, not even Damien Cook.
No one is safe from a Benji Marshall spray, not even Damien Cook.

"As a hooker, you know when you've thrown a bad pass and you're filthy at yourself. To have someone else tell you, shit, that when it really means something.

"It was sort refreshing because I haven't had that. You might get some young players who don't want to tell you if you throw a bad one. I respect Benji and everything he has done in the game.

"I loved that he sprayed me. It's probably one thing we can definitely work on is making sure we hold each other accountable. Benji has come in and a couple of little comments like that will spread through the group in a good way.

"You've got to remember there is always someone out there that is better than you. You can't think you're doing everything right. I am one of those people that is always looking for feedback and looking to improve.

"If Benji can bring that accountability to us senior players at the club, it will then filter through the group."

Asked to reveal exactly what Marshall said, Cook stated: "He came up to me after and said: 'That's two shit passes you have thrown to me'.

"If you say it the right way, it brings trust throughout the group. We are all mates and know we can say those things because we all want the best out of each other.

"Benji will do his best work making sure we senior players are held accountable and to hold them to the same high standards as the rest of the team.

"He will do a lot of good work with us players off the field, especially myself. I have really enjoyed having Benji here. I will milk him for all the experience he has."

Marshall has only been at the club for a few weeks and has already made an impact on the players. Picture: Adam Yip.
Marshall has only been at the club for a few weeks and has already made an impact on the players. Picture: Adam Yip.

Souths have crashed out of three successive preliminary finals.

At the Fox League launch on Thursday at Bankwest Stadium, former Storm premiership-winning halfback Cooper Cronk said Souths were "cherry ripe" for the premiership.

Cook admitted his club wanted success for multiple reasons, particularly departing coach Wayne Bennett.

"He came to Souths for a reason and we don't want to waste his time," Cook said. "Wayne believes in us and knows we have the squad here to do it. We just need to get a couple of little things right on the way.

"Wayne puts a plan in place throughout the year. We just can't lose certain games at the start of the year that probably cost us last year. We just have follow his guidance - he knows better than anyone how to do it.

"I have a lot of respect for Wayne. He has done everything in the game. He left Brisbane to come to Souths. He obviously chose us and could probably have put his hand up at most clubs and they would have taken him.

"We have been in three 'prelims' and we definitely want to go that one step further and win a grand final and, after we do that, we'd be hungry to win another one as well."

Originally published as 'Two s**t passes': Benji roasts NRL's best hooker


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