Castleford Tigers’ new forward Matt Cook has revealed that Daryl Powell is a major reason for him joining the club and he expects the head coach to make him a better player in 2015.
Back row or prop Cook, 28, has had a good career in Super League with Bradford Bulls, Hull KR and the London Broncos club from where the Tigers have signed him, but reckons there is still improvement to come – and coach of the year Powell is just the right man to bring it out of him.
He told the Express: “Daryl Powell was a big reason for me joining. He spoke very passionately when I talked with him about joining Castleford.
“Obviously seeing what he’s done externally to the club and how the team turned around so dramatically with not that much of a change in personnel whilst he was in control I thought he had to be a very good coach.
“And when I asked around a few of the lads already at Cas the feedback they gave me was how good a coach he is.
“I think he can make me a better player. I’m now 28, but I still think there’s a lot of improvement I can make as a player and I think he is the right coach to help me.
“I’ve noticed some differences in the way he works. It’s more intense than I’ve been used to and in training he’s very clear and specific in what he wants to get out of each session.
“He kind of puts a target out there and doesn’t take no nonsense either.
“He expects standards to be high and he’ll let you know in a nice way if you’re having an off day. He’s a good motivator as well as being a good technical coach.
“So I’m seeing his coaching attributes already even though it’s only been a few weeks.”
Cook’s first ambition at Castleford is to win a regular place in the first team squad and he acknowledged there are plenty of other players with the same aim with the Tigers going again for some strength in depth.
He said: “For me my main aim is to earn a position in the squad weekly.
“There’s a lot of competition in the team. It’s healthy and I just want to come and give my all every day that I’m there.
“I want to fight for a spot within the team and be competing for silverware.”
Cook’s favoured position is in the back row, but he knows he faces big competition for a place in that position in the team from the likes of new team-mates Junior Moors, Oliver Holmes, Grant Millington, Frankie Mariano as well as his fellow London recruit Mike McMeeken.
He added: “In conversations Daryl mentioned potentially hopefully that I’ll be playing back row, but things can change.
“It’s my preferred position, but I’m pretty much happy anywhere in the pack so long as it’s not hooker.
“At the moment I’m aiming to make my trade in the team in the second row, but anything can happen during pre-season and between now and the start of the season.
“I’ll wait and see what happens come the friendlies and the first game of the season.”