We will have profiles on the leading candidates over the next ten days and fans have until midday on Wednesday 6th November to cast their vote and we will announce the club's Greatest Ever Kiwi on Thursday 7th November ahead of the clash between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea the next day.
To book your ticket now the World Cup clash go to www.rlwc2013.com/tickets and to cast your vote click here
Here we reproduce Ken Dalby's profile of the legendary Bert Cook followed by a reflection from Leeds Club President Harry Jepson OBE.
Bert Cook featured prominently in Sir Edwin Airey's post-war team-building plans from the moment he turned out at Headingley with the touring New Zealand Army XV on 10th November 1945. And no wonder, for apart from contributing two penalty goals and a conversion towards the defeat of a Northern Services XV that included Albert Johnson, Gareth Price, Alan Edwards, Ernest Ward, Cliff Evans and Ike Owens, his immaculate fielding, phenomenally long touch-finding and bravely adventurous running, constantly caught the eye. Indeed, for all he insisted that he had no intention of turning professional, his sole ambition being to merit selection for the renowned All Blacks, Leeds kept the tabs on the man born at Wairoa on 24th December 1923. Some day, perhaps...
Some day! It might well have been never, had meddling Fate not intervened. As it was, no sooner had an untimely ankle injury put him out of the running for the one honour he coveted above all other, than a tempting offer lured him to Headingley at the psychological moment, with Leeds making history as the first Rugby League club to fly a Dominion player to this country. What's more, the likeable, fresh-complexioned 23-year-old who stepped from the plane on New Year's Eve in 1946 was a pioneer, blazing a trail for a veritable invasion from Down Under...Arthur Clues...Lionel Cooper...Pat Devery... Johnny Hunter...Harry Bath...
A chunky figure, glowing with good health, Bert was unlikely ever to forget his first twelve months at Headingley: four debut goals against York, with 17,000 sport-starved spectators 'taking to him' from the start; the dawn of a new Ice Age, resulting in mass cancellations for five weeks on end; the 1st and 2nd Round Challenge Cup victories over Barrow and Hunslet; the stupendous, never-to-be-forgotten goal from all of fifty yards, that defied a Central Park swamp and inspired the men up-front to a gruelling 3rd Round triumph over mighty Wigan; the Semi-Final rout of Wakefield Trinity by 21 points to nil...and then, the Wembley dream that turned into a nightmarish anticlimax against Bradford Northern, followed six months later by a one-point defeat at the hands of Trinity in a Yorkshire Cup Final replay at Odsal.
Nor was there to be any redemption, the Loiners going down two years running with Semi-Finalitis. Or was it Odsalitis? At all events, their crest-of-a-wave hopes of returning to Wembley in 1950 were dashed by Warrington; and the anguish was far greater a year later, with Bert doing more than enough to lay the Odsal bogy, his four goals and a try giving 'Dolly' Dawson's men a splendid nine-point lead, yet only for Barrow to force-a replay and then waltz to victory at Fartown by 28 points to 13. So that, well as he continued to play during his time at Headingley, the solitary winner's medal that came his way was from the 1951 Yorkshire League Championship.
What matter the medals are few and his representative honours limited to just two games with Other Nationalities, Bert was both an accomplished player and a crowd-pleaser, sharing his enthusiasm and sense of enjoyment with the man on the terrace. Of his many outstanding displays in Leeds colours, none was more thrilling than that at Fartown on 18th November 1950, with the Loiners trailing by 16 points to 7T and barely fifteen minutes to go….a magnificent Bruce Ryan try, crowned by Cook's superb goal from the touchline, and now there were only four points in it…a sudden burst into the line, and Cook was there again, to send full-back Hilton sprawling with that inimitable steam-piston hand-off, before hurtling over in the corner. Now everything depended on the conversion, but that was never in doubt, for the man with the smallest boots in the game (and an odd pair at that, one being 4 ½ and the other a 5) was dead on target, to give Leeds their first win at Fartown since the War.
Apart from one season with Ernest Pollard in 1936-37, the Loiners had lacked a specialist goal-kicker ever since Joe Thompson's retirement in 1933 but not any longer! Establishing a new Club record with 115 goals in 1949-50, Bert surpassed that the following season with a massive 150. Moreover, he notched up twelve against York at Headingley on 29th August 1949, to equal the record jointly held by J.H. Potter and E. Pollard. All that, of course, was B.L.J., before Lewis Jones.
Appointed coach to The Rugby Football League in 1951, and released by Leeds in September 1953 to take over as player-coach at Keighley, he put in a 3 year stint at Lawkholme Lane, before helping out in a similar capacity at Crown Flatt, where he turned out for the last time on 8th April 1958, against Rochdale Hornets.
Associated with Andrews, the Tile and Flooring Specialists, prior to setting up in business in Leeds on his own account, Bert eventually settled happily in Boston Spa. A true sportsman, who knew not only how to win, but how to lose - with a smile - sad as it was to read of his death on 19th December 1986.
Harry Jepson's view
In some ways Bert arrived in the shadow of the huge personality that was Arthur Clues but no one should underestimate the Kiwi's contribution at a time when the side was in post-War transition. He was spotted playing for the NZ army RU at Headingley and his talent instantly apparent. He wasn't big, more squat and had odd sized feet but was flamboyant and wonderfully safe under the high balls so often aimed at him. He was commanding and could shift players out of the way with his bulk when coming into attack, which he loved to do. Defensively, he was like a magnet and had an unerring ability to attract ball carriers to him before extinguishing their threat. Few knocked him out the way, instead he used his power and low centre of gravity to great effect. He was also an impeccable, specialist goal kicker who on numerous occasions either landed the crucial touchline goal or match winning penalty. Rarely injured, his genuine love of life was translated into his play and shared on the terraces and, if looking at an all round contribution for Hall of Fame selection, the work he did developing the game and coaching in schools was very important.