VFL co-skipper signs at Cheltenham
What’s cooking at Cheltenham?
Good things, to judge from its recruiting.
Three weeks after signing Sandringham vice-captain Dylan Weickhardt, the Rosellas have now secured Zebras co-captain and VFL stalwart Myke Cook.
The pacy wingman had offers from Chelt and Mornington Peninsula Division 1 club Bonbeach.
Last night he settled on the Southern league’s Rosellas, who despite a strong second half to the season narrowly missed out on the Division 1 finals this year.
Cook, 29, went through the Sandringham Dragons and in 2007 was drafted to Adelaide, where he managed 14 AFL games.
Delisted after three seasons with the Crows, he returned to Melbourne and signed at Sandringham.
In seven years with the Zebras he displayed much dash and durability, playing at least 17 games per season.
He finished with 125 matches and honours including VFL team-of-the-year selection and state representation in 2012 and co-captaincy with Kade Answerth this year.
Cook played one match for Cheltenham in 2017 but nominated Bonbeach as his local club this year.
Rosellas coach Des Ryan, preparing for his third year in charge, said the right-footer joined Weickhardt and other friends at Chelt, including former Queenslander Conrad Hudghton, another former Zebra.
“There’s a bit of a friendship group there, and they have a desire to play some football together,’’ former Richmond defender Ryan said.
“’Cookie’s obviously a class act. He’s been at the highest level. We think he’ll have a big impact on our club in quite a few areas.’’
Cook told Leader this morning: “Yeah, there are seven or eight mates there and I’ve got a good relationship with Dessie. I’m just happy to get back to basics and enjoy some footy.
“I helped out with a few training sessions and played the one game last year, and I got a good community vibe out of the club. The after-matches are a lot different to VFL after-matches, put it that way.’’
Cook said he was satisfied with what he had achieved in elite ranks.
“I gave it all I had. I really wanted to play 200 state level games but I didn’t quite get there (as a Crow he played in the SANFL). For the last two or three years at Sandy I’ve been pushing and hoping they would go stand alone and I thought I could really help guide the club and the players. It only really clicked in the last 18 months that it wasn’t going to happen. Frustration started to creep in…’’
Ryan noted that Cook was “part of a push to hold together the Zebra culture’’.
“It’s very difficult with those combined teams, tough on the home team as opposed to the AFL team, and he was leading that from the Sandringham end. That’s a good quality. He’s a quality guy and so is Dylan Weickhardt. The pair of them will be very important to us with their on-field leadership but also their football culture.
“They’re high-end players who understand what a footy club should look like and behave like.’’
Bonbeach might have missed out on Cook, but three-time Sandringham reserves best and fairest and crafty onballer Luke Verma will play with the Sharks full-time next season.