No regrets for Cooper despite Wolves’ struggles
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