Debut: Round 1, 1994 v Adelaide, aged 20 years, 79 days
993rd Carlton Player
Games: 25 (Carlton)
Goals: 35 (Carlton)
Last game: Round 19, 1995 v Brisbane, aged 21 years, 218 days
Guernsey No. 18 (1994 - 1995).
DOB : 7 January, 1974
AFL Rising Star Nominee: Round 6, 1994
James Cook, recruited from Nth Hobart, was a player capable of almost anything - from the brilliant, such as long goals and huge marks, to the ridiculous, such as falling over his own feet and playing on after a mark after the siren had sounded. Picked with #2 in the 1990 National Draft, something always threatened to happen around the burly Tasmanian. His was surrounded in controversy even before he was recruited, he had his father send out a letter to all the AFL clubs telling them that he was only prepared to play for either Carlton or Melbourne! He warned the other clubs that he was not prepared to play for them. Now that's confidence!
Cook would debut for the Blues in Round 1 of 1994, wearing guernsey #18, but it was in Round 4 where he first made his mark with 5 goals 5. Two weeks later, Cook would kick 6 as fellow 'newbie' Troy Bond kicked 5 with the Blues new young forward line towelling the Swans at Optus Oval. He struggled to find consistency for most of 1994 but would end up kicking 25 for the season from 18 games to show some promise. But it was perhaps his high pack marking that had most of us talking. Cook would somehow elevate his 190cm 92kg frame on to the shoulders of unsuspecting opponents and team-mates to provide real highlights.
In 1995, Cook would only play sporadically - Rounds 2, 7-9, and 17-19 as our forward line of Spalding, Kernahan and Pearce, let alone Clape, restricted him of opportunities. Only injuries to those players would allow him to be selected but he was unable to step up and maintain a position once the Blues became injury free toward the end of the season. He played just 7 games and managed 8 goals.
At the end of the season, Cook sought a trade to a club where he would have greater opportunities. He found his way to the Bulldogs in return for Ben Sexton, brother of 1995 Premiership player Michael Sexton. The Dogs would win this trade with Cook playing 49 games over 1996-1999, including several multiple bags of goals at Full Forward (as many as 7).
He seemed to particularly fire up in games against the Blues, kicking bags of 6 in both 1998 and 1999. He was traded to the Demons in 2000 but would only play the first 3 games of that season and never play AFL football again. Talk of weight problems always surrounded him and he never quite achieved his potential. In a television interview in July 2006, Carlton's Coach of the Century, David Parkin, was asked who was the most difficult player he had encountered. Without hesitation, he replied; 'James Cook - on a coachability scale of one to a hundred, I'd give him a two.' Which pretty well sums up James' football career.
Cook finished up with 77 games at 3 Clubs, providing big but frustrating memories for fans of each Club given his potential.
Cook also wore Guernsey No. 46 in 1991 and Guernsey No. 42 in 1992 and 1993 when he played reserve grade football for Carlton.
Career Highlights1992 - Reserves Runner-up in Club Goalkicking 47 goals
1993 - Reserves Runner-up in Club Goalkicking 35 goals
1994 - Best First Year Player Award
LinksArticles: Carlton's Top Tenners | That First Pick...Players taken with Carlton's first pick in the draft
Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for James Cook (At Carlton) | Career Breakdown | Cook's Blueseum Image Gallery