Reds could re­gret dump­ing Cooper

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE Queens­land Reds may live to re­gret de­mot­ing Quade Cooper to Bris­bane club rugby, ac­cord­ing to for­mer team­mate Digby Ioane.

Ioane is close friends with dumped play­maker Cooper, and they played to­gether in the Su­per Rugby club’s 2011 cham­pi­onship year.

Cooper has been told by new coach Brad Thorn he isn’t in his plans for 2018 and not to bother com­ing to train­ing - de­spite hav­ing two more years left to run on his con­tract.

With the 29-year-old yet to strike a deal with an over­seas team, it looks likely he will play out the year for the Souths Rugby Club while still earn­ing a re­ported $800,000 salary.

Ioane has been in reg­u­lar con­tact with Cooper via text mes­sage and said he was in a good headspace. “It’s just a bit sad. “He didn’t do any­thing wrong,” Ioane told re­porters yes­ter­day, af­ter ar­riv­ing in town for the Bris­bane Tens with his Ja­panese side Pana­sonic Wild Knights.

“I just feel for him, but I guess he’s the most ex­pen­sive club player (in Aus­tralia).

“I would take that job, that would be eas­ier on my body.

“Good on him, I hope he stays at Souths and doesn’t go any­where and just proves him­self again. It’s just so weird, I’ve never seen that be­fore.”

Thorn is back­ing teenage tal­ent Hamish Ste­wart at fiveeighth this sea­son, and also has cover in the form of re­cruits Jono Lance and Ben Lu­cas.

“It’s not like you’ve got fiveeighths fall­ing from a tree,” Ioane said.

“You need depth in Aus­tralia and Quade is one of the most ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.

“You can’t lose your tal­ent. He’s ac­tu­ally a good leader.”

Ioane’s team­mate at Pana­sonic, for­mer Wal­laby Ber­rick Barnes, said it was a “strange” sit­u­a­tion.

Bar­bar­ians’ Quade Cooper passes dur­ing a tackle from the Wal­la­bies’ Nick Phipps

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