Damien Cook speaks out amid David Furner and Michael Maguire development at Souths

Cook's admission comes after a major move was confirmed by the Rabbitohs.

Axed Souths hooker Damien Cook has welcomed the addition of David Furner to the club's coaching staff, with the Rabbitohs confirming on Wednesday that the experienced mentor has joined as Jason Demetriou's assistant. Speculation had been mounting that Demetriou would be axed after Souths suffered their fifth loss of the NRL season against Cronulla, before being given an apparent stay of execution after a gutsy 34-22 loss to the Sharks in round six.

Cook was dropped for the clash in a number of changes for Demetriou's side, which fought valiantly after a number of injuries and HIAs. The Bunnies only ended up with one player left on their interchange bench but put on one of their bravest performances in some time. And Cook said he was thrilled to see the response from his teammates after a tumultuous start to the season.

Pictured left to right, Damien Cook, Michael Maguire and new Souths assistant coach David Furner.
Damien Cook has spoken about new Rabbitohs assistant coach David Furner amid reports linking Michael Maguire with a return to coach the NRL side in 2025. Pic: Getty

The veteran No.9 praised the way Demetriou has brushed aside the constant speculation about his job, and chose to walk away from a press conference after 27 seconds, rather than answer questions about his future at Souths. “There was so much noise around last week,” Cook told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast on Wednesday. “It had been building a lot last week. The way JD has handled himself has been great too, you wouldn’t think anything of it. You wouldn’t notice all the stuff he was copping.

“That result on the weekend, I’m not saying it was enough, but it’s great to see that the noise has dropped off and the media has dropped off a bit, and we can just focus on what we need to do. We know we’ve got the talent here and the team here to get the job done.”

Cook was speaking on Wednesday before the Rabbitohs confirmed Furner would be joining Demetriou's coaching staff. But the hooker said he welcomed the Canberra legend's links to the club and what he would be able to bring to the team. “There’s talk, obviously, of ‘Furnsey’ coming in. We’ve got the bye this weekend so we’ve had a couple of days off so I’m not sure what’s actually going on. But if he is (arriving), that’s going to be a great little addition to our team as well and to help us out at the moment.”

Furner worked as an assistant at the Rabbitohs in 2017 and 2018 and also alongside Demetriou as part of the Cowboys' coaching staff during their premiership-winning season in 2015. And Demetriou said on Wednesday that he's delighted to be reunited with Furner once again, and excited by what he can bring to the last-placed Bunnies.


“I’m really happy to have David joining our crew. He will add a lot to our coaching staff and, most importantly, our players,” Demetriou said. “We’re looking for ways to improve our performances and we think that having an experienced coach like him coming in to concentrate on the team’s defence will be a positive.

“We’ve worked together previously and had great success at the Cowboys, and he knows what our Club is all about having worked here before. I’m looking forward to having him here alongside myself, Benny (Hornby), Joe (O’Callaghan) and ‘Sutto’ (John Sutton) as we prepare for our next game against Melbourne and the rest of the season.”

Pictured right is David Furner when he was an assistant coach at South Sydney.
David Furner returns to South Sydney after previously being an assistant coach at the NRL club. Pic: Getty

David Furner joins Souths amid Michael Maguire reports

Furner will be in charge of looking after the Rabbitohs' defence with fellow assistants Hornby, O’Callaghan and Sutton working in the development and pathways roles to support the head coach. Furner's appointment comes after New South Wales Origin coach Michael Maguire emerged as another candidate to replace the besieged Demetriou, if he is shown the door at the Bunnies this year.

Maguire is a favourite of club bosses and fans after masterminding South Sydney's drought-breaking premiership in 2014 - the club's first in 43 years. Maguire's reign as Souths coach lasted from 2012 until he was sacked in 2017, with the veteran mentor then joining the Wests Tigers for an ill-fated three-year stint, before taking over as head coach of New Zealand.

Wide World of Sports claims senior figures at Souths have Maguire in their sights to possibly take over in 2025, if Demetriou can't turn the club's fortunes around this season. But Maguire insisted his focus was only on Origin and the Blues at the moment. "Right now all I am thinking about is State of Origin and getting New South Wales back as the premier state," Maguire said.