McKenzie hoses down Cooper league link - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McKenzie hoses down Cooper league link

By Ben Horne And Jim Morton 16/08/2010 06:55:25 PM Comments (0)

While Sydney bubbles over Wallabies' star Quade Cooper's possible defection to the Parramatta Eels, word from north of the border is the Queensland Reds five-eighth will reject the NRL's offer and stick with rugby.

Cooper's Super rugby coach Ewen McKenzie said he spoke to his marquee player last week and his impression was he wants to stay in the 15-a-side code and work towards the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

McKenzie believes there are too many reasons for Cooper to remain loyal.

"I had conversations with him last week, on the phone and in my office, and in my mind he has a lot of ambitions left in rugby," McKenzie said.

"There's a World Cup around the corner, the game has just turned his way. You've got to remember he's been in the Reds for three years prior and it's all happened to him.

"He's the (Super 14) player of the year and it's all on the up for him now. A lot of people think in the last couple of Tests we were missing him. There's a good space for him in the game. He's still got to convert that potential but he's certainly been doing it at my level."

The Queensland mentor said he'd be shocked if his 22-year-old star walked out on the code to pursue a rugby league career, despite the reported $1.5 million three year offer the Eels have tabled him.

"In my mind he's made a commitment to the Reds and to rugby, so nothing's changed, but I know he has to negotiate the other side of his contract so that's what he's doing," McKenzie added.

"From my point of view he's been quite clear and up front about his commitment to us so I'm assuming the other side will get sorted and we'll move on."

Former Wallaby Mat Rogers announced his retirement from the Gold Coast Titans and professional sport on Monday and said Cooper would be a natural in league.

However, Rogers laughed off the speculation Cooper would actually jump ship, and was confident it was just media talk aimed at increasing his value in rugby.

Rogers admitted he had spoken to friend McKenzie about the Cooper situation.

"No, I think there's a bit of ducks and drakes going on there," Rogers said.

"He's a great player with the ball and he would be a welcome addition to rugby league."

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