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Can Johns make it 3 wins in a row
Hull ace Paul Cooke?s ambitions for club and country go on the line on Saturday when the Challenge Cup winners take on form team Warrington in the opening round of the engage Super League play-offs.
Defeat at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will signal the end of Hull?s bid to complete the double while Cooke knows it could be his last chance to play his way into the Great Britain squad for the Gillette Tri-Nations Series.
The 23-year-old stand-off or loose forward was excluded from Brian Noble?s initial 40-strong training squad back in May but his outstanding form since then was recognised this week when he was named in the Super League Dream Team.
Cooke, who scored the match-winning try in Hull?s dramatic triumph at the Millennium Stadium last month, is currently in line to play for England in the autumn internationals against France and New Zealand but has a burning desire to earn full international honours.
?I am proud of the fact that I got in the Dream Team,? he said. ?Nice things happen when you are playing well and I will take it as a positive and try to kick on for the play-offs.
?The next job is to get past Warrington and get a decent play-off run. We will see about the Great Britain squad then.
?It is up to Brian Noble, all I can do is play well for Hull. If international honours come this year, then so be it. If not, I will just have to knuckle down and work that bit harder for next year.?
Cooke acknowledges that Hull face a difficult task in attempting to reverse last week?s 30-16 home defeat by an Andrew Johns-inspired Wolves but he believes his side can draw inspiration from their successful Challenge Cup run in which they beat Super League clubs in all five rounds.
John Kear?s men have lost two of their three league games since Cardiff but Cooke plays down suggestions of a cup final hangover.
?I think that?s mentally an excuse from everybody,? he said. ?I tend to think that players get paid to do a job. It?s been a month since the cup final and we have got to put it to the back of our minds now.
?It?s going to be like a mini Challenge Cup run. We had to face some quality opposition in the Challenge Cup and we had to beat them to win that, so we can take heart knowing we can get a result from the big games, even if have to go away from home.
?If London spring a surprise against Bradford and we beat Warrington, then we are at home in the next round.?
Warrington are close to putting the ?house full? signs up once more for Johns? third appearance in the British game but Cooke believes his side would be foolish to focus all their energies on stopping the gifted Australian.
?They have got quality right across the park, with players like Brent Grose, Martin Gleeson, Lee Briers and Nat Wood,? he said.
?Andrew Johns is just one top-quality player in a top-quality side. We are going to have to close him down and close every one of them down if we want to win this game.
?The players are looking forward to it. We are confident in our own ability and confident as a group of people that we can get a result and kick on from there.?
Warrington v Hull, The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Saturday Sept 24
Warrington 18-man: Grose, Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Briers, N. Wood, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, Mark Gleeson, Westwood, P. Wood, Lima, Bridge, Johns.
Hull 18-man: Barnett, Blacklock, Brough, Carvell, Chester, Cooke, Dowes, R. Horne, Kearney, King, McMenemy, Raynor, Saxton, Swain, Whiting, Tony, Thackray, Yeaman.
Referee: A Klein