Arthur Cook showed flair as a goalsneak for junior teams but played only four league games before World War I intervened. When football resumed, he made his mark as a central umpire. Arthur was a slick runner and allround cricketer, but football was his first love. As a lad he slotted nine goals from nine shots in a game for Payneham in 1908. He kicked 85 goals for Norwood Juniors in 1909 when they won the Adelaide and Suburban association flag (and then decided to change their colours from black and white to red and blue).
Arthur played for the Norwood Bs in the SA Football Association from 1911 to 1915. In 1912 he was selected in the SAFA team which came from behind to defeat NSW in two matches in Adelaide. On 6 July he kicked five goals as the SAFA stormed home 9.16 to 6.8 at Adelaide Oval. Four days later he booted two goals in the wet to help the SAFA win 5.7 to 3.8 at Norwood Oval.
His league chance came in June 1913. He marked and kicked a magnificent goal on debut, but Sturt won 6.11 to 3.12. Five days later he was goalless against West Torrens, which won 9.11 to 8.11 at Hindmarsh Oval. He booted two early goals against Port Adelaide but missed chances as the looming premiership team stamped its authority with a 13.9 to 7.9 victory at Adelaide Oval. He kicked one goal against West Adelaide, which hung on by four points, 7.17 to 8.7. That was Arthur’s league swansong.
A writer in the journal Sport said: “Norwood needs better forwards. Cooke [sic] is a good lad, but hardly class enough, and too light for a goal sneak, and Hawke (Les Hawkes) is frightened.” Norwood was often competitive, but finished bottom in 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1919.
Arthur emerged as a league central umpire in 1919. After a game in 1920, ‘Sport’ commented in the journal Critic: “Cook performed creditably, but got a little inconsistent . . .in the later stages . . . He, however, gives great promise, as he has the courage of his convictions. Many tricks of the players were spotted by him, but he was not to be bluffed.” Arthur umpired a good number of country finals.
One of eight children, Arthur was born at Norwood on 12 September 1889 to John Cook and his wife Betsy, née Mary Morris. Arthur married Laura Maddeford in Hindmarsh in 1914 and they had one son, Eric Raymond. A bookmaker, Arthur lived at Thebarton. He died at Mile End on 8 July 1960.
P Robins, D Cox June 2021