Damien Cook dropped as Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou sends message to cuddled players

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Damien Cook’s shock axing is about under seige coach Jason Demetriou sending a message to South Sydney’s underperforming stars that they need to step up to turn the club around.

The Rabbitohs are reeling in last place on the ladder, which is a stunning fall from grace for a team that less than a year ago were on top of the table.

Paul Kent believes dropping Cook is an attempt by Demetriou to spark the team into action on the field.

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Is Demetriou enabling player activities?

“They need a circuit breaker there at the club, there’s no doubt about that,” Kent said.

“The fact that Latrell Mitchell’s not playing this week, that provided Jason Demetriou with the opportunity (to make major changes).

“(Dropping) Cook is a bit of a surprise. But again, they needed something to shake it up a little bit.

“I think good on the coach for trying to crack a few eggs to make the omelette.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Brent Read didn’t see the call coming, but believes Demetriou’s hand has been forced.

“I’m surprised, but when you look back at the game on the weekend… that period before and after half time, that’s when they lost that footy game,” Read said.

“Damien Cook missed a big tackle in that moment, a couple of other guys – Sean Keppie and Tallis Duncan, they’re gone this week as well – they were on that field during that period.

“If you look at it from that standpoint, I can understand why he’s made the change.

“If you look at Cookie’s stats this year, he hasn’t been that potent with the ball either. I think he’s got one try assist and one try break this year.

“The other factor is (Peter) Mamouzelos. He’s been knocking on the door for a long time now. He’s been playing well in NSW Cup, played well when he came on the weekend.

“He has to make a change. They need a circuit breaker.”

Dean Ritchie believes Demetriou is fed up with his stars not delivering on the field.

“It strikes me as Demetriou saying: ‘You know what, I’ve had enough,” Ritchie said.

“If I have to offend somebody now, I’ll do it.

“I’m sick of playing Mr Nice Guy. I’m sick of mollycoddling this mob. If I’ve got to get rid of a big name, (they’re) out.’”

Kent believes the mood at Souths has been about protecting players for far too long and Demetriou needed to send a message.

“That’s been the mood around the club the whole past week,” Kent explained.

“For months and months and months now they’ve been protecting everybody … (when things weren’t right) the club has rallied around and circled the wagons.

“There’s been a clear change from the hierarchy of the club that says ‘enough’s enough. We keep coddling these guys and they’re not getting the job done.’”

"Where's the Souths players?!"

However, Read does not believe Cook is one of the protected players at Souths.

“While he’s going to go down swinging, JD, this was purely a form decision,” Read said, adding that Cook was not the kind of player that had been ‘cuddled’ by the club.

But Kent replied that “his [Cook’s] reputation as an Origin player is probably what saves him from feeling the axe earlier”.”

Ritchie believes Demetriou has been too loyal for too long.

“There’s loyalty and then there’s blind loyalty,” Ritchie said.

“Has JD perhaps been blindly loyal for too long? And now he’s saying ‘my job’s about to go here. My arse is in a sling, so unless I start making some changes I’m out the door.’”

Braith Anasta replied: “The problem there is that he probably could have made some changes a few weeks ago.”

Originally published as ‘Had enough’: Real reason Rabbitohs coach axed Damien Cook

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