Mel Cooke

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Mel Cooke
Personal information
Full name Melville Lance Cooke
Born (1934-05-30)30 May 1934
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 5 September 2013(2013-09-05) (aged 79)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Playing information
Height 178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 86 kg (13 st 8 lb)
Position Scrum-half, Loose forward
Years Team Pld T G FG P
19??–1964 Hornby
1965–1968 Monaro
Total 0 0 0 0 0
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1953–19?? Canterbury
South Island
1959–1964 New Zealand 23 5 0 0 15
NSW Country
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1963–1964 Hornby
1965–1968 Monaro
1969–1978 Hornby
1971 Canterbury
Source: RLP

Melville Lance Cooke[1] (30 May 1934 – 5 September 2013) was a New Zealand rugby league player who represented his country twenty three times between 1959 and 1964.

Playing career[edit]

Cooke was a member of the Hornby club in the Canterbury Rugby League competition. He was the player-coach when Hornby made the national tournament finals in 1962 and 1964 and when they won the Thacker Shield in 1964.[2]

A Canterbury and South Island representative, in 1962 Cooke was captain of the first Canterbury team to win the Northern Union Cup from Auckland at the Addington Showgrounds.[3]

Cooke played in 23 games for New Zealand, including at the 1960 World Cup. He played in eighteen consecutive tests between 1960 and 1964.[2] Cooke was the captain for the last three seasons before accepting a player-coach position in Canberra in 1965.

Coaching career[edit]

Cooke took up a player-coach position with Monaro in 1965. While there he captained the side against the 1966 British Lions and was selected for New South Wales Country.[2]

In 1969 Cooke returned to Hornby as coach. He was a Canterbury selector and coach in 1971 and again coached Hornby in 1978.[2]


Cooke was named one of New Zealand Rugby League's "Legends of League" in 1995.[4]

In 2009 Cooke was named in the NZRL's team of the century.[5]

Cooke died in September 2013, aged 79.[6]