The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Quade feels the need for Eden re­demp­tion


QUADE Cooper is des­per­ate for another chance to bury his Eden Park de­mons.

The Wal­la­bies’ most an­a­lysed player will again carry the hopes of a na­tion when Aus­tralia con­tests the 20team World Cup tour­na­ment in the UK next month.

The Queens­land Reds fly­half will be un­der the World Cup mi­cro­scope af­ter the latest in a string of for­get­table per­for­mances in Auck­land.

Cooper was booed there dur­ing the 2011 World Cup semi-fi­nal, and again a fort- night ago when he was sin­binned dur­ing a hu­mil­i­at­ing loss to the All Blacks.

That is not how Cooper wants to be re­mem­bered and he would dearly love another op­por­tu­nity to face his de­mons at the home of New Zealand rugby.

“One day I look for­ward to go­ing there, when­ever we have the next op­por­tu­nity, and win­ning,” Cooper said.

“It’s not some­thing I am afraid of. It’s a chal­lenge, one that we as foot­ballers look for­ward to.’’

Cooper was not the only Aus­tralian who made er­rors that night but he has prom- ised to re­pay the faith of coach Michael Cheika at the World Cup.

Wal­la­bies at­tack coach Stephen Larkham said Cooper could see things be­yond the vi­sion of his team­mates and that abil­ity could also cause prob­lems.

“Some­times within the game, I see things and I ex­pect oth­ers to see it the way that I have,” Cooper said.

“It is about trust­ing all the play­ers. Trust­ing my­self and work­ing off oth­ers is some­thing in the past I haven’t done as well as I’d like. It’s some­thing I am work­ing on.’’

Cooper is a changed man from the brash, young risk­taker at the 2011 tour­na­ment.

Now 27, he claims to be a home­body who ap­pre­ci­ates Cheika’s trust and has a greater un­der­stand­ing of the re­quire­ments of his role.

“The last World Cup I was very young, we’d come off the back of win­ning a Su­per Rugby ti­tle, and I think I was a bit com­pla­cent,” he said.

“I as­sumed all the hard work I had been do­ing since I was 16 had paid off and I was just go­ing to be that player for the rest of my ca­reer.

“Now I un­der­stand the way you per­form is a con­tin­ual thing. Ev­ery day you have to try and stay at that peak. Now I un­der­stand the work never stops. If I am go­ing to be the player I want to be at the end of my ca­reer, I have to work hard ev­ery day.”

The hard lessons learned have left the fly­half primed for his shot at re­demp­tion.

“I am highly mo­ti­vated for this (World Cup),’’ Cooper said.

“Af­ter be­ing at the last World Cup, I learnt a hell of a lot.

“Now I have a coach who be­lieves in me, my team­mates all be­lieve in each other, and so I feel a lot more con­fi­dent.”

 ??  ?? FLY­HALF CON­TENDERS: Bernard Fo­ley (left) and Quade Cooper de­part for the US to pre­pare for Aus­tralia’s next game in Chicago. Pic­ture: Twit­ter
FLY­HALF CON­TENDERS: Bernard Fo­ley (left) and Quade Cooper de­part for the US to pre­pare for Aus­tralia’s next game in Chicago. Pic­ture: Twit­ter

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