Sheffield boss praises Doncaster rival

Paul Cooke
Paul Cooke

Sheffield Eagles’ boss Mark Aston has paid tribute to the impressive start by Paul Cooke as player-coach at Doncaster.

The clubs meet in a crucial South Yorkshire derby at Owlerton Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 2pm).

Half-back Cooke, has taken the Dons to third in the Championship in his first season in the dual role.

“Player-coach is not a thing that I’d suggest to anyone take on, it’s hard and I know,” said Aston who did the job at the Eagles for four seasons.

“Paul is doing well, Doncaster are riding high, and wracking up points. Paul has got himself in the best shape he’s been in for a while and is leading from the front.

“The team looks like a collective and are really bonding and that the impressive thing. Doncaster have a surprised a few – they beat Featherstone, then Batley. I’m pleased for him and it’s good for rugby league in South Yorkshire.”

Cooke, 33, played for both Hull clubs and Wakefield in the Super League before joining the Dons as a player in 2012. Aston added: “Paul has the football brain to guide the team around the field and put the ball in the right area at the right times.”