WATCH: Castleford Tigers star Matt Cook speaks up at last after being forced to go quiet

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IF ANYONE deserves to be shouting about Castleford Tigers’ play-offs push it has to be Matt Cook - the silenced prop has not been able to physically talk for six weeks.

READ MORE: Castleford star nominated for Super League Young Player of the Year
In one of the more bizarre injuries to strike down a rugby player, the industrious forward was sidelined due to a rare condition that affected his vocal chords.

Castleford Tigers prop Matt Cook, centre, back in action against Hull FC. (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)

Castleford Tigers prop Matt Cook, centre, back in action against Hull FC. (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)

Cook missed six games before returning to action in Friday’s 44-12 win over Hull FC, fittingly scoring a try in his 250th Super League appearance as Castleford replaced their opponents in the crucial fifth spot.

Castleford will confirm the place in the play-offs if they win again in their final round game at Wigan on Thursday but the 32-year-old is simply glad to be on the field once more.

“It was the game against London Broncos at home when I caught an elbow to my throat,” he recalled, about the fixture which Castleford won on June 30.

“I had a trauma to my throat and it was a strange one.

Castleford's Matt Cook takes it to the Hull FC defence. (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)

Castleford's Matt Cook takes it to the Hull FC defence. (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)

“It hurt for a couple of days and then for about two weeks I had no symptoms and was fine.

“But then suddenly my voice completely went and I couldn’t talk or speak in anyway.

“It was gone for six weeks. We first thought it was laryngitis so I was even told to stay away from the club for a week to make sure I didn’t spread it to anyone!

“It turned out it wasn’t laryngitis; I saw a specialist and she said it was vocal palsy which is a mild paralysis of one of my vocal chords which prevented me from communicating and talking to anyone.

“She did say it could last for up to a year so that scared me a bit!

“Thankfully it’s back now and I’m back playing.”

Cook has been a regular for Castleford ever since joining from London in 2015 and it was frustrating being sidelined for such an unusual reason.

“It was definitely a weird one,” he added.

“The thing that gave me a bit of hope was I ended up being the third rugby player - the others were from union, I think - she’d actually seen where there's been a delay onset reaction and similar sorts of symptoms.

“I knew those people had come back fine so I could, too, but yes it was bizarre. “As a prop I thought I’d be able to get away with not being to talk out on the field and I could just trundle it up fine.

“But communication is a massive, massive part of our game; I soon realised that out on the training paddock that I couldn’t really play.”

It was no surprise, then, that the former Bradford Bulls forward celebrated so jubilantly after scoring late on in that critical win over Hull..

“It was massive,” he said.

“For almost nine weeks it felt like a mini pre-season for me actually.

“I was training hard off the field and to come back and get the nod for the game against Hull FC, it was great.

“To get the win and then for me to jag a try in front of the Wheldon Road end was pretty epic.

“Hopefully it’s put us in a great position now to be able to cement that play-off spot.”

Even if Castleford lose at Wigan, unless Hull gain something from their game against leaders St Helens the following night, they will still qualify.

Cook is looking forward to making sure the job is done before, though, even if they face a tough challenge at second-placed Wigan who are in fine fettle.

Even if Castleford lose at Wigan, unless Hull gain something from their game against leaders St Helens the following night, they will still qualify.

Cook is looking forward to making sure the job is done before, though, even if they face a tough challenge at second-placed Wigan who are in fine fettle.

“Don’t get me wrong; Wigan are in some real good form and playing pretty hot,” he said.

“It’s always a very tough and intimidating place to go to, a great stadium and always a big game even the last one where there wasn’t many points scored.

“That was a tough old game at their place a while back (6-4 defeat in April).

“It will be a big challenge but we're coming off the back of some form ourselves and to know if we get the job done there we’re definitely in the play-offs is a massive driving factor for us to make sure we get the two points.”

Meanwhile, asked how things had been at home during his long period of silence, Cook revealed: “Funnily enough I’d not long got a new puppy so that was really hard as I couldn’t train the thing!

“Anyone who sees me out walking and she’s up to no good it’s because I haven’t been able to train her.

“I think the missus was glad. She was dead happy I couldn’t speak.

“Most of the team were glad I couldn’t speak for a few weeks as well given I chat that much rubbish I suppose!”