Paul Cooke reveals debt to Dons - and Carl Hall - in new biography
Paul Cooke has revealed he considers joining the Dons as one of the best decisions of his life in his new warts-and-all autobiography.
The immensely talented ex-Super League ace arrived at the Keepmoat in January 2012, ending his self-imposed exile from the game.
Following plenty of personal difficulty, including the death of his mother due to cancer, Cooke accepted an invitation to speak to the Dons.
“I spoke to Carl Hall, the owner of Doncaster Rugby League Club, in November 2011,” Cooke writes in autobiography Judas?.
“He is one of the best men I’ve met in the game.
“He’s a straight talker and I liked him from the start.
“He said there would be an opening for me to play and work in the community of behalf of the club.
“I’m not sure anyone else but Carl could have persuaded me to come back to playing rugby league.
“It’s without question one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
“To this day, I owe Carl a great debt of gratitude that can never be put into words.
“He’s still one of my best mates, a man who if I need anything he will find a way to help me get it, a man who I can rely on.”
After helping the Dons win Championship One and promotion as arguably the side’s key player, Cooke then guided them to fourth in the Championship as head coach before leaving in 2015.
He also joined Clive Griffiths’ coaching staff at Doncaster Knights despite admitting he knew nothing about rugby union.
Judas? is an incredibly honest telling of Cooke’s life story, often difficult to read but also revelatory.
Cooke was inspired to write his story – with assistance from talkSPORT stalwart Adrian Durham – following the death of mum Christine, who had urged him to finally reveal the details of his controversial departure from Hull FC to Hull KR in 2007, a move which resulted in years of abuse in his home town which continues today.
While this forms the main focus of his book, he also discusses his time in Doncaster across both codes.
n Judas? by Paul Cooke and Adrian Durham is available now, courtesy of Pitch Publishing.