Cook’s big fear after Kangaroos debut
DAMIEN Cook fears he may have let Australia's past players down after being involved in the Kangaroos' first Test defeat in 13 matches.
Cook had the task of replacing retired Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith at hooker, among four debutants who featured against New Zealand on Saturday night.
Cook said he had "mixed feelings" after playing his first international.
"From my point of view, I almost feel like you've let past players down," Cook said. "Australia has been dominant for so long and to lose it feels like we might have let them down a bit and let the jersey down. Obviously an honour to put on the jersey, disappointing not to get the win."
Cook was not able to utilise his pace out of dummy-half with Australia on the backfoot for most of the game. He ran for just 38 metres but was asked to make a game-high 42 tackles.
Australia's coach Mal Meninga said Cook had been spotted in defence - so much so that he was given a quick break late in the match with Josh McGuire slotting in at hooker.
"I got a bit of a break because we'd done so much defence," Cook said. "I would've been more than comfortable staying out there. We probably needed a bit of a change."
Cook acknowledged the Kangaroos' new-look spine would be "clunky".
They now turn their focus to Tonga as they prepare for a historic Test.
"I don't think the combinations were too bad," Cook said. "It was more not holding the ball and not giving us a chance to score points. We left it a bit late. If we hold the ball and go set for set we have enough skill on our edges. Tonga have a great side and played some great footy during the World Cup. They will be ready to go."