When Widnes Vikings signed former Castleford Tigers prop Matt Cook ahead of the 2021 Championship season, a few eyebrows were raised.
Cook, who had spent six seasons at the Jungle, was still very much a formidable forward who was able to take it to the heart of defences with blockbusting runs.
However, the 35-year-old has revealed that Widnes were just one of many clubs that had been chasing him to play in the second-tier following a known-about Castleford exit.
“The move to Widnes came about during lockdown in 2020, I had a few Championship clubs come in to talk to me,” Cook told Serious About Rugby League.
“Cas told me they weren’t going to keep me on for 2021 which was down to me missing a lot of games – I had missed pre-season and the opening six fixtures due to a calf tear and when I was due back, we went into lockdown and it was during those months that I knew my career at Cas would come to an end.”
Cook explained that the move to Widnes “made the most sense” given his proximity to the club and his father’s affinity with the Vikings.
“Lockdown opened up an opportunity to move on elsewhere, but Widnes made the most sense.
“They were right on my doorstep which was handy and my whole dad’s side of the family were all from Widnes and I thought he would be so proud of me for pulling on that black and white shirt.
“Hopefully one day they can get back in Super League because they are such a huge and iconic club.”