Super League stalwart Paul Cooke has joined Championship outfit York as their new assistant coach, with previous experience in the dugout in both rugby league and union.
The 42-year-old called time on his playing career at the end of the 2015 season, which he had spent as player-head coach in the second tier with Doncaster.
As he hung up the boots, Cooke ended with 405 career appearances, including three on the international front for England earned in 2006 on a ‘Federations Tour’.
Hull-born, the former half-back played for both FC and KR, scoring 880 points in 220 games for the Black and Whites as well as 222 in 64 appearances across the city for the Robins.
With briefer stints at both Wakefield Trinity and Featherstone Rovers, the experienced head too spent time with Leigh – then Centurions – as their assistant coach between 2016 and 2017.
Both prior to and after that, he’d worked in rugby union with Doncaster Knights, serving them as a ‘Skills and Backs coach’. Now, after a few years out of the game in punditry, he joins York as an assistant to boss Andrew Henderson.
Former Hull FC & Hull KR star Paul Cooke takes up assistant role at York
York confirmed Cooke’s appointment in a press release earlier today, appointing a man who scored a try in the 2005 Challenge Cup final as Hull FC beat Leeds Rhinos and featured at Old Trafford the following year as they lost out to St Helens in the Super League Grand Final.
Linking up with fellow assistant coaches Ged Corcoran and Will Leatt at the LNER Community Stadium, Cooke said: “I’m delighted to have joined the coaching team here at York.
“I’ve been out of the game for a while with family commitments, but when I came to meet Hendo and Clint (Goodchild, chairman), this felt like the right fit for me.
York head coach hails new assistant Cooke: ‘He’s really bought into the vision of the club’
Torquay-born chief Henderson himself has plenty of experience in the game, with the 44-year-old making close to 400 appearances of his own accord during a playing career which saw him pull on a shirt for six different clubs.
He recruits ex-playmaker Cooke with a view to ‘balancing’ out his backroom team at York, with ‘more defined roles’ on the agenda in 2024.
Former Scotland international Henderson added: “I’m really pleased to secure the services of Paul and I’m really pleased that Paul wanted to come here too. I know he’s been touted for a few jobs in recent years but, from when we met, nothing really excited him.
“He’s really bought into the vision of the club and the journey we’re going on, and feels like he can add some value to our coaching team. I felt like we needed to strengthen our performance staffing operation going into 2024. Each year we go forward, we need to see progression and improvement.