Quade Cooper: Club rugby pathway good enough for me
Quade Cooper is adamant the best thing for his rugby future is to stay in Brisbane and play in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition.
The mercurial five-eighth today swatted away suggestions he could look for a contract overseas.
“I’m very happy where I am,” Cooper said.
“I signed a three-year contract.”
“That’s showing your cards as it is. I want to be here for three years and enjoy playing for my club and the rest will all look after it’s self.”
After being named as skipper for Souths this season, Cooper wants to lead the Magpies to a premiership and raise the Hospital Cup.
A feat that would go a long way to helping the 29-year-old get back into the Super Rugby fold.
“If the opportunity arises to one day represent the Reds and the Wallabies again, then so be it,” said Cooper.
But he is confident the direct course for making that happen is by using the Premier Rugby competition the same way so many other rugby players have.
“It’s definitely a platform and it has to be used that way,” Cooper told Rugby News.
“Whenever I go up to a school or go watch a game, parents come up to me and ask me about the pathway for their kid to reach the top; play for the Reds or the Wallabies.”
“Club rugby is that pathway.”
“For me to be able to use that pathway that’s there in place for us, it’s a great opportunity.”
In yesteryear, Queensland’s top amateur competition used to be where rugby fans could see their favourite state and national players on a regular basis – and the 2011 Super Rugby Championship winner wants to see that comeback club rugby.
“At my club, you’ve guys like Toutai Kefu, Tim Horan, Jason Little – just to name a few – that have all come through the system.”
“They all played a hell of a lot more club games than I have, so it is a great honour to go back, represent my roots here in Brisbane.”
While plenty of people would forgive Cooper for thinking he was above the local Brisbane league, the man himself believes the competition deserves more credit.
“To think that it’s not a good enough platform to take the next step, I find that a little bit disrespectful,” Cooper revealed.
“If there wasn’t a pathway, why would you have all these kids lining up to play Colts, play Premier rugby and represent their country at some stage?”
While the 70-cap Wallaby’s dumping by the Reds has been viewed as harsh by many in the rugby public, Brad Thorn’s men have started the season 3-1 without Cooper.
“I played 120-odd games for the club so I’m loving that they’re going well,” said Cooper.
“The better they go, (the better) flow on effect it will have in Premier Rugby. The better that each Australian franchise goes, the better it’s going to be for rugby as a whole and that’s only a good thing.”
Cooper’s Souths Magpies have a round one bye this weekend and will kick off their Queensland Premier Rugby campaign at home against Easts on Saturday, April 7; two days after his 30th birthday.