As Wallabies play-maker Quade Cooper continues to alienate himself from Australian Rugby Union officials and repeatedly threatens to jump ship to League, it’s an intesrting to consider who might want the unpredictable star, and which sides would best suit his undeniable, yet unpredictable talent.
The strongest rumours in Rugby League circles to date have linked the Queensland Reds’ player with a possible move to the Roosters, where he would join good friend Sonny Bill Williams. However, while the Roosters desperately need to inject some fresh blood in to a squad which under-performed in 2012, I’m not sure this would be a great fit.
Following a disappointing season, and with Williams set to make his debut for the men from Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, the pressure and expectations on the club as a whole will be huge – not an ideal environment for a player looking to get his footing in a new code Additionally, Cooper is bound to demand a hefty pay-packet, and I’m not sure how much money would have been left in the Roosters’ coffers after securing SBW’s services.
There’s also the Roosters’ signing of Warriors player James Maloney to consider too, both in terms of where Cooper would slot in positonally, and again looking at their salary gap.
The New Zealand-born Cooper, who lived in the North Island until he was 13, could always head back across the Tasman to Auckland and don the Warriors’ jersey, but he’s a sportsman the kiwi sporting public love to hate, and he’d have to hit the ground running and perform from the outset to win the Warriors fans over.
I’m not convinced Cooper would be a great fit with the current Warriors squad either. While Maloney’s expereince and consistency balanced out the flair and unpredictability of young Shaun Johnson, Cooper’s style may be too similar, and the combination of the two could lead to complete chaos in the Warriors backline.
Previously linked to Paramatta, Cooper could be an option for the Eels, and in-coming coach Ricky Stuart would be the perfect teacher, being both a former-half, and a former Rugby Union player. But the Eels will face enormous pressures themsleves after a completely under-whelming season, and fans of the proud side will demand immedaite results from any new recruits.
Several sides, including the Dragons (who have apparently lost faith in Jamie Soward), the Tigers (who rely so heavily on an injury -prone Benji Marshall), and the Broncos (who could use some flair to gel with the relatively conservative style of Peter Wallace), could all probably benefit from the services of Cooper, but whether any of these sides, who all failed to set the competition alight in 2012, would appeal to him is another story.
The Bulldogs are a side without genuine superstars in the halves, but coach Des Hasler prides himself on creating a gameplan and an environment which revolves around all 17 men in the squad doing their own jobs, rather than a reliance on individual brilliance from key personnel, and it may be that Cooper simply would not fit Hasler’s structured style of play.
If he did go to league, it would be a case of finding a side with a fine balance – he needs a club that performed well enough in 2012 so that the pressure from their supporters is not at boiling point from the season get-go, where he is surrounded by expereinced players and capable coaching staff who can impart their knowledge and take some of the heat off him as he learns the game, and a side which can integrate his flambouyant style in to their own game-plan.
But, while there might not be an obvious choice jumping out at him, if Cooper continues his Twitter tirade against Australian Rugby he mght not have any other option than to pursue a career in the 13-man code.