TWO AIMS spurred Matt Cook’s decision to join Castleford Tigers.
The former Bradford Bulls, Hull KR and London Broncos forward sees Tigers as a club on the up – and under coach Daryl Powell he reckons he can take his game to a new level.
Cook reported in to begin pre-season training this week, after three seasons with the capital outfit.
“They are a team that have turned it around dramatically in the last 12 months,” the Warrington-born forward said of his new club.
“As an outsider looking in, I thought this is a team going places. I spoke to Daryl when I got the opportunity to come to Cas and I jumped at it.
“Hearing about the signings they’ve made for next year and the coaching staff here, it was exciting and I am really looking forward to trying to be part of it and joining a team that’s going to be competing for silverware.
“That’s all I have ever wanted to do, win some silverware, but I’ve always been pipped at the post in terms of getting to the Grand Final or Challenge Cup final.
“That is every player’s dream and probably the main reason I left London for Cas.”
Cook added: “Also, I am 28 next week and hopefully I’ve got a few more years left in me.
“I’ve seen what Daryl Powell has done with the team in such a short space of time and I thought this is a coach who is going to be able to develop me more as a player and make me a better player.
“I think he can help me take it up another level. I am always striving to be the best I can as a player and hopefully that will happen.”
Cook is now in his second spell at Castleford, after playing three games during a brief loan stint in 2008.
“It is going really well,” he said of the very early stages of pre-season.
“It is always nice to get to know the new faces and all the new boys.
“All the lads who were here last season have been very welcoming and made me feel really at home.”
Cook said he already senses a more businesslike air about the club than six years ago.
“It’s difficult because I didn’t do a pre-season then,” he said.
“But in the first few days I’ve had a taste for it and the intensity is a lot higher.
“Maybe that’s because it’s pre-season, but they are a top team now, fourth in the league.
“The personnel hasn’t changed that much from last season and the standards they’ve set from the coaching staff all the way through are very high.
“It is tough, but enjoyable at the same time.”
A host of familiar faces have made settling in easier, Cook said.
“There’s a few still here from when I was here in 2008 – Shenny [Michael Shenton] and Dicko [Kirk Dixon],” he pointed out.
“There’s a few of the London boys up here, which a few people have a giggle about and a couple of players from my Hull KR days: Jake Webster and Frankie Mariano.
“And there’s Steve Crossley and Andy Lynch from way back when I was at Bradford, so that has helped.
“It has made it a lot easier than if I’d gone to a club where I didn’t know anybody.”