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Former New Zealand Warriors hooker makes surprise Championship move

York Knights sign Sam Cook

It’s been a tricky start to the season for York Knights in the Championship and this week they made a change at the top as Andrew Henderson was replaced as head coach Mark Applegarth.

This comes after the Knights have won just three of their opening 10 games, leaving them 14 points behind leaders Wakefield Trinity. They are however still in touchind distance of the play-offs, with Bradford Bulls in sixth on 12 points.

It will require York to hit the ground running under Applegarth if they are to get anywhere near competing for the top six under their new boss, and it appears he is wasting no time making changes to the playing squad.

The Knights announced on Friday afternoon that former New Zealand Warriors hooker Sam Cook has joined the club. The 30-year-old has signed a one-year deal with York – an impressive first deal for Applegarth as coach.

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Kruise Leeming

York Knights sign Sam Cook

As well as the New Zealand Warriors, Cook has also played for Mackay Cutters, Newcastle Knights and France’s Racing Club Albi XIII.

Cook made his NRL debut in 2018 for the Warriors. He has most recently played in France, remaining with Albi XIII for the last two seasons. He’s also played alongside two current Knights players in his career, in the shape of Ata Hingano and Jesse Dee

Speaking to the official York website, Cook said: “I’d only ever heard good things, about the team, the Club and the City. When the opportunity came up, I was keen to jump at it and give it a red hot crack.

“It’s such a new experience for me as well. I’ve played footy (rugby) in New Zealand and Australia as well and then having the opportunity to play footy in France to then getting to go even further from home to the UK is such fantastic opportunity.

“I want to bring my experience and leadership to the team and a cool calm head to help the leaders and the team out.

“I’m pretty big on communication as well, that’s one of my real strengths.

“Hopefully I can bring all my positive attributes to the team, give the boys a bit of confidence and help out the young players as well.

“It’s been almost ten years since I played alongside Ata (Hingano) in the New South Wales Cup in the Reserve Grade for the Warriors so to be able to go out there and play footy with him again is really exciting for me.

“Also to finally be able to play alongside Jesse Dee after spending a couple of years crossing each other’s paths in Mackay. I’m really looking forward to meeting the rest of the team.”

York Chairman, Clint Goodchild, added: “We’re excited to add Sam to the squad. He brings experience, presence and versatility.

“I have no doubt he will have a positive impact on the group as we prepare for the second half of the season.”

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