Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook.

South Sydney hooker Damien Cook has a simple recipe on how to play his opposite number Josh Hodgson in Friday's preliminary final in Canberra.

Don't look at his eyes.

"Josh reads the numbers so well. He's able to lock eyes with a defender and draw them in," Cook tells NRL.com.

"That's a big part of his job. And he never overplays his hand. He just ties up the markers and puts his players in good positions.

"That's why you see a lot of joy down their short side when you're watching Canberra.

"And be on the watch for his no-look passes."

So in other words, there's plenty to think about if you plan on containing the Raiders No.9.

"I've got a lot of respect for him. He's someone I enjoy watching play," Cook said.

"He's very deceptive around the ruck – something he does very well. He 'lies' very well with the ball because you don't know where he's going sometimes.

"He'll always have numbers around him but you've got to watch him first. With the ball in hand he is the first big threat.

"Then you try to do your best after that."

Both Cook and Hodgson are Test players but have only ever quared off in club matches. Hodgson, as an England international, does not play State of Origin and Australia last season did not play England – the year Cook made his Kangaroos debut.

"I do wish I'd played him more. It's exciting to line up opposite him," Cook said.

"He's mastered the deception part of being the ideal hooker – it's something I'd like to improve myself."

Not that the 28-year-old is any slouch when it comes to effort in keeping the Rabbitohs in the contest.

Match: Raiders v Rabbitohs

Finals Week 3 -

Full Time
Raiders

Home Team

Raiders

Scored 16 points
Rabbitohs

Away Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 10 points

Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

And a win over the Raiders in this 100th NRL game would mean a trip to the 2019 grand final. Cook was with the Bulldogs in 2014, when South Sydney beat Canterbury for the premiership, but didn't play in the decider.

Since then Cook has become the NSW Blues and the Kangaroos No.9.

"The most important thing out of all that is that I haven't won a premiership yet. That's something every player wants to do and that's my main focus at the moment," he said.

"I really think we've got a great side here. We have beaten Canberra in Canberra this year (16-12, round 10) so we can derive a little confidence from it that it is do-able.

"We just need to play our style of footy and that comes back a lot on me to do my job."

Coach Wayne Bennett doesn't usually do individual tip-sheets for his players.

"Not really. But Wayne will show a couple of clips on certain players, what they do and how they do it," Cook said.

"I'm expecting him to do a lot on the English boys, seeing as he's the England coach."