The rugby league media missed the biggest story leading into Origin II

Brad Fittler has chided the press pack for missing the biggest story of the lead-up to his side’s dominant win in Origin II.

The NSW coach was surprised when no one from the attending media noticed Damien Cook was missing from Blues training on Saturday.

It wasn’t until three minutes to go in NSW’s 34-10 there was even a sniff anything was up with the Blues hooker.

By that time Cook had already put the finishing touches on a performance Fittler described as an “absolute blinder” after a wild week which saw him spend Monday night in hospital hooked up to a drip.

“It was an interesting week for me … what initially looked like a little ingrown (hair) grew and grew and turned into a cellulite leg infection. The boys tried to say it was a boil, but it wasn’t,” Cook revealed post-game.

It was bad enough to need proper medical attention so Cook attended the Prince of Wales hospital where his doctor gave him little chance of playing on Wednesday night.

Fittler had Cam McInnes ready to step in until a phone call at 10am on Tuesday morning changed his mind.

“I told (Blues selector) Greg Alexander we’ll hear it in his voice (if he’s ready to play or not). He said I’m ready to go and met us out at the captain’s run and had a blinder,” Fittler said.

“A few of you missed him, that he didn’t train on Saturday. Nobody asked any questions about it … that was a good story.”

Cook had his left leg heavily strapped. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Cook was at his usual damaging best, earning praise from his coach for picking the right times to run from dummy-half.

The 29-year-old was unsure if the infection had impacted him during the game.

“Not too sure. You get tired during parts, but I didn‘t know if it was just (because it was) an Origin game,” he said.

“(I was) probably cramping a little bit too much, which I don’t normally do. I cramped a bit in the last 10 minutes and Freddy gave me a break in the last three. Just happy I got the chance to play and taking the series up to Suncorp.”

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