Cook worries me far too much to bring in as the most expensive player in the game, i have 2 big question marks on him that mean i won't be touching him at least until some balls get kicked in anger:
a) Wayne's teams are always very structured, especially his spines, Cook had great base stats but was elevated above everyone else due to the insane amount of TB's he'd get with off-the-cuff play, will the gameplanning under Wayne this year afford him the same freedom?
b) if he is afforded that freedom, a lot of teams were successful in limiting his effectiveness in the back-end of the season, barely heard him mentioned trough the finals series or his forgettable games for Australia, was that more to do with Cook winding down after a big season or is there a blueprint on how to stop him now?
Couple of my opinions on Cook -
Wayne has never had a hooker with the ability of Cook. He has always had lower tier options that were closer to tackle bots than game breakers. Wayne would be insane to game plan Cook's running game out.
Couple of reasons Cook slowed down at the back end. Firstly he was noticeably tired coming out of Origin. Cook is one of the fittest blokes in the comp but his first full season as a big minute hooker had to take it's toll. Secondly there was a change around how Souths played. Early in the season, rather than fighting for extra metres in the ruck Souths big boys(particularly Gurgess and Turgess) would almost surrender in the tackle, dropping to hands and knees on impact allowing quick play the balls. By around mid season the refs seemed to figure out this was basically a surrender tackle and allowed the defense to hang on a bit longer. Slower play the balls = less room to run against a set defense. From round 15 on wards Cook had a negligible down tick in TBs, run metres. Biggest impact appears to be in the line breaks with 7 in the first 12 rounds and 2 in the back half.
On to if Cook can back it up, this is highly dependent on how the game will be refereed. Will be very interesting watching early season to see if the big boys are allowed to drop to hands and knees for a quick play the ball or if advantage is being given to the defense.