NORTH'S SUPER HERO
IN AN ideal world Gavin Cooper would be running out for his 200th NRL game for the North Queensland Cowboys tonight as a oneclub player.
The backrower yesterday reflected on how the Cowboys have become a “massive” part of his life, long after he was presented his debut jersey by club hall of fame member Paul Bowman in Round 2, 2006 against Manly.
Cooper has gone on from the Young Guns program to play 123 games for North Queensland for 39 tries, while also spending two years at the Gold Coast Titans and Penrith Panthers for 76 games.
Similar to much of his career, Cooper’s 200th NRL game milestone has flown largely under the radar this week as the Cowboys prepare to meet Manly.
Cooper yesterday said playing 200 games was something he would reflect on in the future and the fact that most of that time has been spent at North Queensland was even more special.
“It’s a massive part of me, it’s a big part of my family now and obviously my wife is from Innisfail and I met her when I was up here the first time,” Cooper said.
“When I first left to go to the Titans, I always said to myself that if I was going to go to any other club then I wanted to come back to Townsville. I nearly came back before I went to Penrith, but I’ve found my way home, so to speak, after a couple of years in Penrith and I’m glad I did.
“You never know, you can’t change things and it’s not that I
I nearly came back before I went to Penrith, but I’ve found my way home
would like to, but if I had have hung around then this could have been 200 games for one club.
“I’m just grateful my body has held out and there’s hopefully a few more to go.”
Cooper is in some of the best form of his career having scored seven tries in 16 appearances while also filling in as captain at the Auckland Nines and when regular co- captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston are away.
Coach Paul Green said Cooper’s contribution to the club extended far beyond what most people see.
“Coops is one of those guys that the other ones in the team really know how much he contributes to the team each week,” he said.
“He’s certainly a popular guy and he’s one of the team leaders and he’s a bit of an unsung hero in our team.
“We all know what he does for us and how good he is for us.”
Prop Scott said the milestone was a wonderful achievement for a player who flies under the radar.
“He’s been wonderful for us this year and one of our best and most consistent players,” Scott said.
“I thought he was very unlucky not to get a spot in the Origin side and it’s a great achievement for him and hopefully we can go out and get a win.”
HAMMER GOD: North Queensland Cowboys’ Gavin Cooper in the Thor inspired uniform.