Sad news: Dragons are letting a 33-year-old vital player leave.

St George Illawarra are preparing to offer former NSW hooker Damien Cook a two-year deal pending approval from South Sydney.St George Illawarra Dragons 2024 roster rater: Every player ranked from 1  to 26 | Daily Telegraph

The Dragons have been made aware that Cook could be on the chopping block at the Rabbitohs due to salary cap restraints and have made inquiries about the former representative dummy half’s availability next year.

Cook is contracted at the Rabbitohs until the end of 2025 on a deal worth about $650,000. He said on Thursday he had built his life at Souths and “did not want to leave”. He had also had several conversations with incoming coach Wayne Bennett.

The Dragons are willing to offer him a contract but would require South Sydney to contribute part of his salary in 2025.

The opportunity for Cook to move on presented itself a few weeks ago when Super League club Huddersfield made direct inquiries with South Sydney officials in the hope they could lure the hooker to England on a two-year deal.

The Rabbitohs informed Cook’s manager, Mario Tartak, indicating they would not be likely to offer him an extension beyond 2025 and would not stand in his way if he was able to secure a longer deal in England or at another club in the NRL.

The Dragons have since been in discussions with Tartak about Cook’s future. The Dragons had discussions with Jeremy Marshall-King about joining the club next season. However, he opted to instead recommit his future to the Dolphins, who take on Cronulla to open round 15 on Thursday night.

Cook, who turns 33 later this month, has had a difficult start to the season and was dropped by former coach Jason Demetriou for a short stint earlier in the year.

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