Cooper calls time on rep footy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cooper calls time on rep footy

David Beniuk 10/04/2011 07:19:34 PM Comments (0)

Veteran St George Illawarra centre Matt Cooper has called time on his representative football career as he closes on a new deal with the NRL club.

Cooper, who has played seven Tests and 13 State of Origin matches, will turn 32 later this month.

The announcement came as he outpointed a hobbling Jamal Idris, bagging two tries in the Dragons' 25-6 victory over Canterbury at the SCG on Sunday.

"I'm getting a bit old now and I've got to look after the body," Cooper said.

"It kills me to do it. I love the game so much but I've got to think of my future at this club and that is to look after the body and try and get through the Dragon games."

Cooper is confident of finishing his career at the Dragons with a new two-year deal, and said rep footy had come up in talks with the club.

"It was always in the back of my head that I had to think about it," he said.

"I had a chat to the family and a couple of players around the club and decided that the best thing for me would be to retire from rep footy.

"Like (Ben Hornby), we just want to concentrate on the Dragons.

"It paid off for Benny last year with the premiership.

"There's a lot of Dragons players in the State of Origin games so that's one thing I had to look at and I think I made the right decision."

Cooper said the contract was close to being finalised.

"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks it will be done," he said.

"The club's keen for me to stay here for life and I want to stay here for my future for as long as I can.

"I think I've got a couple of years left so hopefully we work that out pretty quick.

"Probably two years would see me out."

Cooper and left winger Brett Morris noticed Idris was struggling with a corked thigh around 10 minutes before halftime, but had come into the match knowing the dreadlocked giant needed to be contained.

"We watched some tapes and he's been playing really strong so I knew as an edge on that left side we had to do a job on him," Cooper said.

"He's a big strong player and I think our edge did really well out there."

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