Former Eagles hooker’s one tough Cookie

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SHEFFIELD Eagles’ coach Mark Aston has identified former player Craig Cook as the number one threat when they face Toulouse Olympique.

The hooker is a specialist at scoring tries close to the opponents’ line from dummy half.

“Much of our training this week was specifically with Cookie in mind – he was the top try scorer for us last season with 20 and how many were from less than five yards? Probably 20!” said Aston. “He’s one of the smartest hookers in the competition, he’ll score tries or he’ll put the ball to people in the right position to score tries. We have to be mindful of that and make sure we mark him out of the game.”

Cook picked up an injury in Toulouse’s defeat at Dewsbury but Aston isn’t taking any chances that the hooker will be miss a return to Bramall Lane tomorrow, (3pm.) “We can’t control whether he’s in the team and we have assume he will play,” said Aston. “It’s making sure that our defence is ready.”

The Eagles have won all five games in the league and the Challenge Cup since Toulouse joined the British game two seasons ago. It’s a record that will face a test tomorrow with the French team making some big signings. Back row forward Ged Corcoran has also made the move from Eagles to the South of France and Toulouse have added Australian half-backs Josh Lewis and Darren Nicholls.

Aston said: “Toulouse have quality French players plus they’ve got Ged and Cookie who will want to put one over on us.

“There’s a few good Australians – the new half-backs and Brendon Worth is one of the best front rowers in the competition.”

For Eagles loose-forward Joe Hirst has recovered from a bout of food poisoning and Dane McDonald is pushing for a return after injury. Aston is also considering giving a debut to winger Vinny Finigan signed on a dual registration deal from Bradford Bulls. Aston added: “Toulouse got a great win over Halifax in the league but slipped up at Dewsbury so will be dangerous.”