Written by Callum Walker
Photo by Sky Sports
With the latest list of off-contract stars doing the rounds, one name stuck out from those listed at Castleford – 33-year-old Matt Cook.
When the barnstorming forward joined the Tigers ahead of the 2015 season, many questioned Daryl Powell’s choice of bringing him to the club. This was especially true considering the fact that Cook had been captain of a London side that finished bottom of Super League in 2014 with just one win from 27 games.
Cook had done the rounds at Bradford and then Hull KR where he stayed for two seasons before moving to the capital. But, Powell had seen something in the forward that led to his capture. And, the Warrington-born prop has not looked back since.
His experience as captain for the Broncos undoubtedly helped Cook, as he brought key leadership qualities with him as well the determination to punch well above his weight. A hard-working, honest and durable forward, the ex-Bradford Bull has established himself as a firm fans’ favourite with the Castleford faithful.
Well into his sixth season at the West Yorkshire club, Cook has suffered from a number of bad injuries but has led from the front with huge carries and imposing defence. And, it’s no surprise that when he is on the field, the whole team seems to improve whilst the fans seem to lift in noise and expectation too.
Some critics have pointed to Cook’s list of past injury problems, but if you were going to discard a player for that alone, then the likes of Alex Foster and Oliver Holmes would have been shelved a long time ago.
Cook pours his heart and soul into every game which he plays in a Castleford shirt and it’s not difficult to see how much he loves playing at the Mend-a-hose Jungle. Surely, he is worth another year at least?