Cross code coach aims to unite Dons and Knights

Paul Cooke
Paul Cooke

Dons star Paul Cooke is hoping to bring the rival rugby codes closer together.

It is already happening with the classy stand-off, set to take over as player-coach of the Dons next season, already working as skills coach at Doncaster Knights.

Cooke, who had never played the 15-a-side code before accepting Knights’ offer, is enjoying every minute of his time at Castle Park.

“I’m there three sessions a week and I love going; the facilities are fantastic,” he said.

“It has surprised me how good the players are and how professional they are and how structured the game is.

“I’m still learning the game but I do know how to coach players and teach them some skills, and not just the backs.

“I certainly hope the fans see a difference in the boys because they have worked very hard on what we’ve asked them to do be it in fitness, strength or skills sessions and set-pieces.”

Cooke is hoping that his involvement will encourage some Dons’ fans to visit Castle Park and visa-versa.

“We are trying to inter-link the two clubs more because I think that is massively important that all three major clubs in the town come together and everybody get behind them.

“I live in Hull and I want all professional clubs in the city to do well and I’d like to see the same thing happen here with public actively supporting all three clubs.

“The union boys have already watched the Dons and we’ll be watching them and then hopefully the Rovers this winter.

“We are also going to use some of Knights’ facilities, such as the gym, a little bit in the off-season.

He added: “I’m not planning to play but I would imagine that Clive (Griffiths) would ask me to do so if we were ever struggling with injuries because he is like that.”