QUADE COOPER has been told he would be crazy to risk a brilliant Test and Super rugby future by leaving Queensland for a huge contract with the Western Force.
Jim Morton reports on rugbyheaven.com.au that Cooper was urged yesterday by teammates, ex-Reds coach Phil Mooney and former Test stars to put loyalty, his combination with halfback Will Genia and Queensland’s bright future ahead of the Force’s offer. Former Wallabies and Brumbies hooker Jeremy Paul said it would be ”absolutely ridiculous” if the 22-year-old threw away a strong chance of greatness by joining the battling Perth franchise.
”I look at Will Genia and Quade Cooper’s combination and, I know it’s in its infancy but, it’s like [George] Gregan and [Stephen] Larkham when they first came together at the Brumbies and Wallabies,” Paul said. ”Those two formed a relationship over a long period of time which helped each other get to where they got to. You get better as a player with the best around you. I think he’d be mad to go to the Force.”
Cooper, who will pilot the Reds’ charge against the defending champion Bulls at Suncorp Stadium tonight, is the form playmaker in the Super 14 after a stunning past month.
The Force, who lost Matt Giteau last year, need a game-breaking five-eighth like Cooper to reassert themselves as finals contenders, and it is understood a WA company is prepared to weigh in with a huge third-party deal.
The Reds are growing increasingly concerned their playmaker may be poised to take the offer, especially after indicating he is treating it as a business decision.
The cash-strapped Queensland Rugby Union, currently under ARU administration, would be gutted to lose Cooper but would struggle to match the offer. The QRU has stuck by the gifted but wayward five-eighth since he debuted at 18 in 2007 and it supported him when he was charged with burglary in December.
Sidelined Reds skipper James Horwill, who has had a knee reconstruction, has been in regular contact with Cooper and is optimistic the Reds’ hard work off-field will be rewarded.
”We think we’re the best place for his football future, so hopefully he shows the same loyalty that Queensland have shown in him,” Horwill said.
”’Off the field, we have put a lot of work into keeping him on the field as much as possible.
”The fact we are a team on the up that’s moving forward and have put a lot of time into Quadey and helped him develop, hopefully that will go a long way to keeping him here.”
Mooney, criticised for sticking with Cooper at five-eighth in 2008 and ’09, said the chance to receive Test No.9 Genia’s slick service and the prospect of winning a Super title should be his priorities.
”Nines and 10, it’s about a partnership and he’s established a good one with Will, and I can’t see the point in breaking that partnership,” he said. ”What’s the attraction in going there other than a bucket-load of money?
Meanwhile, the Stormers maintained their push for a top-two finish by starting round 10 with a crushing 49-15 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton last night.Tweet