SuperCoach NRL Death Match: Cook versus Smith
In our latest SuperCoach debate, Tom Sangster and Rob Sutherland argue the merits of the two most expensive hookers in the game.
DAMIEN COOK - Tom Sangster
The argument for Damien Cook over Cameron Smith is pretty simple - Cook is better. A lot better.
The Dally M Hooker of the Year and Origin champion averaged a massive 6.3 points more than the next best SuperCoach player last year. He also topped the hooker position in almost every key attacking statistic:
• Runs (191 compared to next best Issac Luke on 147)
• Run metres (2246 compared to next best Cameron McInnes on 1509)
• Tackle busts (74 compared to next best Luke on 44)
• Offloads (25 compared to next best Luke on 24)
• He finished second for tries (four) and try assists (10)
These numbers are even more stark when compared to Smith, with Cook not just beating but dominating the two-time Dally M winner:
• Tries: 4 to 1
• Try assists: 10 to 3
• Tackle busts: 70 to 19
• Linebreaks 11 to 1
• Linebreak assists: 11 to 9
• Runs over 8m: 129 to 42
Smith has been on the decline for three years - his season averages of 78, 75 and 64 are proof of that. It's the same story with total points - 1802, 1504, 1461.
Smith already struggled statistically without Cooper Cronk last year. Now he has to get by without Cronk AND Slater. All at the age of 36. That's a tough ask.
Just pay the cash for Cook first up and save the trades. After all, Cook is better. A lot better.
CAMERON SMITH - Rob Sutherland
For once I find myself agreeing with Tommy in one of these debates. As it stands, Damien Cook IS a much better SuperCoach hooker than Cameron Smith.
See, I could waste my word allocation outlining how good Smith has been in the past, but if you have made it this far you probably know that know matter how 2019 pans out 'the unicorn' is going down as the G.O.A.T.
But that would be pointless, because this debate is not binary. It is not Cook versus Smith - rather it's Cook versus Smith AND $131,600 in the kitty.
So let's break down the two parts of the 'Smith plus cash' package shall we?
Smith did fail to hit his previous highs in 2018, but he still cracked triple figures three times, averaged 64PPG, played 23 games in the season and just failed to reach the benchmark 60/60 mark (for reference Smith exceeded 60 points in 57% of games last season).
With a 39PPG average in base - to which you could add a solid 14-15PPG in goalkicking - Smith is still a super-safe scoring option at his position.
The $130K you save on Smith versus Cook buys you a significant upgrade on any other player. How significant you say?
Well I'm glad you asked.
Which combinations do you prefer? Cook and Aaron Woods or Smith and Marty Taupau?
How about Cook and John Sutton or Smith and Jake Trbojevic, Cook and Chad Townsend or Smith and Nathan Cleary, Cook and Edrick Lee or Smith and Latrell Mitchell and lastly Cook and Josh Dugan or Smith and Kalyn Ponga.
The GOAT plus top two or three option at position or a guy coming off the most 'career year' of all time and a mid-ranger.
You know it makes sense.