Featherstone sign Paul Cooke

Featherstone Rovers have announced that Paul Cooke has signed for the club with immediate effect until the end of the 2015 season.

34-year-old Cooke, who until recently was player/coach at Kingstone Press Championship side Doncaster, has had a well-documented career in the sport, which include a Challenge Cup triumph at Wembley in 2005 with Hull FC and also a Super League Grand Finalist in 2006 with the same club.

Born in Hull, Cooke played more than 200 times for Hull FC during the successful period of 1999-2007 where he amassed just short of 800 points for the Black & Whites.

In 2012, he joined side Doncaster RLFC as player coach and at the end of 2013 he became Head Coach. Combining playing and coaching duties, Cooke scored 190 points in 85 appearances in his time at Doncaster and led them to a fourth-placed finish in the Kingstone Press Championship last season picking up the Coach of the Year award in the process.

On signing for Featherstone Rovers, Cooke who can play stand-off or loose-forward said: “I’ve been enjoying time with my family in recent weeks but after meeting Mark Campbell and Andy Hay it feels right to come to Featherstone Rovers as a player and something I’m really looking forward to.

“It will be good to concentrate on just playing and once I’m in full training, in a good routine and get rid of that inevitable rustiness, I’m hoping to really contribute to the side.

“The facilities here at the Big Fella’s Stadium are fantastic, everything is on one site and as a player you have no excuses to get in the right shape physically in an environment like this as it really helps you focus your mind. Obviously I know quite a bit about the Rovers side and their strengths so my job now is to get fit and help this side to achieve their goals.”

Featherstone Rovers Head Coach Andy Hay said: “This is a great opportunity for us to bring in a player who is vastly experienced not only at Super League level but also the Championship. He’ll be a big help on the field and will bring another dimension to our play. He’s been a thorn in our side whenever he’s played against Featherstone in recent seasons and we are looking for more of the same in a Rovers shirt. When we found out that Paul joining the club as a player was a possibility we spoke to him straight away. He’s hungry and very enthusiastic to take this opportunity of playing behind a strong pack and also helping our younger players develop.

“We’ve been looking for another option at six for a while since the signing of Ryan Millard did not materialise and we are happy to have secured his signature. We’ll get him on to our training and conditioning programme and as soon as he’s ready to pull on a Rovers shirt we’ll introduce him to the team. He’ll be a fantastic asset for us for the rest of the year and I’m looking forward to working with him.”