EMERGING forward Hamish Cook is learning from experienced teammates as he strives to be a consistent goal-kicking option.
The apprentice electrician, 18, has provided a spark in Hamilton Kangaroos' forward line in 2022, kicking 20 goals since making his Hampden league senior debut in round two.
Cook - a tall forward who prides himself on his marking ability - said he had relished the added responsibility.
"They have given me a pretty good opportunity to be honest," he said.
"In the under 16s I was a half-back and then one year they whacked me up forward and I must have gone all right and have just stayed down there."
Learning from experienced teammates is helping Cook develop his forward craft.
"It's pretty good to have people like Darcy Russell down forward and my under 18s coach Luke Uebergang is down there as well," he said.
"They tell you where to go."
Cook, who had high praise for recently re-signed senior coach Hamish Waldron, is playing alongside his peers in attack too, including teenage small forwards Ben Starkie and Zach Burgess.
"I have grown up playing footy with them so it's pretty good to play seniors with them as well," he said.
Hamilton Kangaroos are a game outside the top five with six games remaining and host third-ranked North Warrnambool Eagles at Melville Oval on Saturday.
Cook said it would be a challenge to dislodge Warrnambool in fifth spot and book a finals spot.
"We are going in the right direction but it's pretty tough when we lose against Warrnambool by a point (two weeks ago)," he said.
"We were even when we played them and now they're a game ahead of us. To lose to (fourth-placed) Portland by seven was pretty disappointing and gut-wrenching.
"We can't really do much about it now."
Cook will soon juggle two sports when cricket pre-season starts.
The all-rounder, who has played in the Warrnambool Under 17 Country Week competition in the past, plays for Hamilton Cricket Club.
"That's when it gets really full-on. It's a bit like when footy pre-season starts - you have your whole week with cricket, footy, cricket and footy, which isn't too bad because you love playing it, but you don't get much rest," Cook said.
Cricket is the teenager's number one sport, given he gets the chance to play seniors with his family by his side.
"I love my footy and basketball but cricket is definitely the go," Cook said.
"My whole family loves the game and I get to play with dad Robbie and brother Tobi in A grade."
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