Cooper the latest Englishman to secure NRL move

Warrington prop Mike Cooper will join St George-Illawarra Dragons in the NRL at the end of the season.

Cooper, 24, has secured an early release from his Wolves deal, due to run until the end of 2014, to make the move Down Under, where he will join an ever-increasing list of Englishmen plying their trade.

He has signed a two-year deal with the Dragons, and as part of the agreement, will return to Warrington on a two-year deal following his spell in Australia.

Cooper said: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since the age of 16. Being a Warrington lad I’m very proud to have been a part of what the club has achieved over the last couple seasons with the recent success in the Challenge Cup and in reaching the Grand Final. The next step for me is to test myself in Australia and gain some experience. I’m fully aware it’s going to be big learning curve for me; I’ll be back at square one again really but it’s something that really excites me.

“I am greatly appreciative of Simon, Tony and Warrington as a club for allowing me to go. I’m 100% focussed on this season with Warrington and the ambition is to win all three trophies this year with this club. My focus is purely on the Super League and Warrington come the end of the season is when I’ll start to concentrate on what’s happening in Australia.”

Cooper is a product of the Warrington academy, and has made 118 appearances for the Wolves since his first team debut back in 2006.

Head Coach Tony Smith, who played for the Illawarra Steelers and St George Dragons prior to their merger in 1999, backed the move.

He said: “I’m pleased for Mike and we are pleased as a club to support him in his desires to add to his career tuition. We are happy to assist him in developing himself as a player and we hope this opportunity will be of benefit to both Mike and this club at some stage in the future. 

“Mike has expressed that he has no wish to play for any other English or Super League club however he does have a desire to go and test his wares in the NRL and he’s been fortunate to be given that opportunity by St George Illawarra.”

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