Reds coach upbeat over Cooper re-signing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds coach upbeat over Cooper re-signing

By Laine Clark 20/04/2010 02:18:56 PM Comments (0)

After locking in replacement cover for the departing Daniel Braid, Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie was quietly confident he would not have to do the same for Reds playmaker Quade Cooper.

The rumour mill went into overdrive about the off contract Cooper when the Reds announced they would reveal new signings on Tuesday.

Instead McKenzie announced welcomed depth had been provided ahead of former All Black Braid's exit at the end of the Super 14 season.

Highly touted flankers Liam Gill and Ed Quirk have set their sights on the vacancy left by Braid after being signed for 2011 along with fellow Australian Sevens reps Dominic Shipperley and Kimani Sitauti.

"I have been hearing about those two guys since I arrived, about their potential as backrowers," McKenzie said.

But it was only a matter of time before Cooper's future came up.

And McKenzie seemed more than comfortable with talks despite reports that Cooper was tempted by a lucrative Western Force offer.

"You don't always believe everything in the paper," McKenzie said.

"Quade is obviously a very important player for us and I am quietly confident.

"There's paper talk, manager talk but there's the reality of face to face discussions.

"I know Quade is happy with what is happening at the Reds."

Adding to McKenzie's confidence is the Reds' stunning on-field resurgence.

The perennial battlers are in sight of their first finals campaign since 2001 following their dazzling last round win over Super 14 champions the Bulls.

They are dizzy heights for a side that has finished among the bottom three teams in the competition each year from 2004.

"It's about playing in an environment that is fun...and players have ambitions," McKenzie said.

"You have to be playing at a place that is going to give you the best opportunity to fulfil your ambitions...and guys like Quade I am sure they have ambitions to be Wallabies.

"And playing in an environment that gives you the best platform to play in the Wallabies would be a fairly important part of it."

It sounded like a subtle dig at the Force who are third last with a 2-7 record, well behind the fourth-placed Reds (6-3).

Yet Queensland are still expected to have a fight on their hands to keep Cooper, such is the size of the Force offer.

But McKenzie said: "Everyone conducts their affairs their own way, everyone is different.

"It would be nice if everything is lovey dovey (in contract talks) out there but you guys wouldn't have anything to write about would you?"

Despite dumping the defending champions last round, the Reds face another stern test against the Stormers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

"They have a bit of everything there (at the Stormers) - the work we have been doing over the last four weeks, this is like a final exam," McKenzie added.

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