No re­grets for Cooper de­spite Wolves’ strug­gles

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - MANCH­ESTER:

Mike Cooper in­sists he has no re­grets about re­turn­ing to War­ring­ton Wolves de­spite their strug­gles this sea­son as they look set to miss out on the Su­per 8s. Cur­rently tenth in the ta­ble, War­ring­ton have to beat Leigh on Fri­day to have any hope of reach­ing the top eight, but even then, a Hud­der­s­field win over Widnes would end their chances of winning Su­per League.

Cooper spent seven years with War­ring­ton from 2006 to 2013, help­ing them win the Chal­lenge Cup on three oc­ca­sions, be­fore head­ing to Su­per League to play for St Ge­orge Illawarra Dragons. The 28-year-old re­turned this sea­son to a Wolves side who had been challenging for the ti­tle on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but as an un­der­whelm­ing cam­paign nears its end, Cooper in­sists it was the right de­ci­sion to head home. He said: “It has been tough. Not com­ing back to the club, it has been great com­ing back to War­ring­ton, but it is hard be­ing in this po­si­tion.

“Then again, this is sport and you have to take it as it comes. We have had a lot of bad luck along the way. I am pos­i­tive there will be plenty of good days. We will win things again, just the way we did.

“It has been dif­fi­cult but that is sport it is very hard to stay at the top of the tree for as long as the club has. Okay, we have not won the Grand Fi­nal but you are talk­ing about a team that has been in the top four for a num­ber of years now.

“This hap­pens to a lot of top sides. We have had a hell of a lot of in­juries and we have strug­gled to keep com­bi­na­tions go­ing.” They take on a Leigh side who are set to be with­out Jamie Ac­ton, who faces a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing for a Grade F of­fence for “other con­trary be­hav­iour” af­ter he ap­peared to grab Greg Bird and push him to the floor when he was in­jured last week in de­feat to Cata­lans.

If found guilty, Ac­ton faces a min­i­mum eight-game ban, and the club have asked for a de­lay to his dis­ci­plinary hear­ing to pre­pare a de­fence.

Mean­while St He­lens, who face Hull FC on Fri­day, will be with­out Matty Smith for an ex­tended pe­riod af­ter he un­der­went surgery on his eye.

Head coach Justin Hol­brook said: “Un­for­tu­nately it is not great with Matty. He needed surgery on Fri­day on ac­count of his eye­lid be­ing very badly dam­aged. “We were hop­ing that would be it but he’s had to go in to­day for a sec­ond lot of surgery. Fin­gers crossed he will be fine.

“As for when he will re­turn to play is just too early to tell.” This week’s ac­tion kicks off to­day when Wake­field Trinity host Castleford Tigers, while Hud­der­s­field can all but se­cure their place in the Su­per 8s with vic­tory over Widnes the fol­low­ing day.

They will be with­out Jake Mamo though, the former New­cas­tle Knight has suf­fered a Lis­franc foot in­jury and will be out for the rest of the cam­paign.

Head Coach Rick Stone said: “He’s had an op­er­a­tion and it’s go­ing to keep him out for the rest of the year. “It’s an in­jury that play­ers def­i­nitely come back from so there’s no real con­cern but it takes time and our goal now is to get him ready for next year.” Cata­lans are in must-win ter­ri­tory against Wi­gan War­riors on Satur­day, be­fore Sal­ford Red Devils host Leeds Rhi­nos in the last game of the round on Sun­day. — AFP

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