He’s regarded as one of most popular and genuinely nicest guys in the NRL, so it should come as little surprise Rabbitohs representative hooker, Damien Cook has been crowned this year’s Philips Sports Dad of the Year.
“I’m very honoured to receive this award on behalf of all the sports dads out there. My family means everything to me and I love being a dad and everything that comes with it” Damien said.
Befitting what a champion he is, Damien has personally matched the $5,000 going to his nominated charity Ronald McDonald House, who will now receive $10,000 from his win.
“I have just recently teamed up with Ronald McDonald house as an ambassador so it makes me really happy to raise some much needed funds for the families and the house itself” Damien said.
But Damien’s real Father’s Day prize though is the birth of son Jagger last week, his second baby after daughter Willow changed his life a couple of years ago.
“I’m always striving to be a better dad for my daughter Willow and now son Jagger, so I’m very proud to win this award.”
Jagger arrived just in time for Father’s Day, but despite the joy of his birth, it’s been a tough week for Damien and Willow who both contracted COVID and have been unable to venture too far.
“It’s been a hard week with COVID as Willow already loves her brother and just wants to give him hugs and kisses and help out,” Damien said.
“Because she tested positive too, we had to keep her away which was hard to watch.
I love getting ice cream with daddy and going to the park
“But Father’s Day will be great as we’ve been locked up for a week so I’m really looking forward to introducing Jagger to the extended family.”
Besides spending time with Willow and Jagger, Damien will now focus his energies on another finals campaign with the Rabbitohs, particularly after missing the past two games.
“It’s hard watching from home and the sidelines but I can’t wait to get back to training and do everything we need to do as a team to go one step further this year,” he said.
“I can’t wait finals footy … it’s the best time of the year.”
Cook’s wife Courtney paid tribute to her rugby league star husband.
“Damien’s best asset for Willow would be no matter how full on or busy his schedule might be or no matter how sore after a game he always makes quality time for her,” she said.
“He takes her for ice cream every Monday after daycare, he reads her favourite book to her every night and he will participate in every dance concert she performs at home and he tells her at least 20 times a day how much he loves her.
“Plus something most people don’t know is Damien runs a really good nail and hair salon in the comfort of our home for Willow.”
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