In rugby news, Quade Cooper is still a bone-head. Not content to sit quietly on the sidelines, injured Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper has hit out against the conservative Australian rugby culture… again! Well gee Quade, thanks for the memo. His sustained attack on Australian rugby (whether he’s right or wrong is irrelevant, but we’ll get back to that later) started last week. Safe in the knowledge that his injury meant he wouldn’t have to lace up a boot and back up any of his claims, Cooper gave his take it or leave it offer to Wallaby selectors:
If people want to go out there and play a boring brand of football then there’s other guys they can pick to do that. I don’t want to walk off the field wondering whether I should have tried this or tried that. That’s where you get the confidence from as a team because when things come off you feel 10-feet tall. That’s something I’m really passionate about.
via Fox Sports
Besides his complete lack of respect for Wallaby selection, coaching staff, and fellow teammate, Quade’s comments were undermined by the fact that we haven’t seen Quade in the type of attacking form he is alluding to since before last year’s World Cup. Cooper went on to throw his weight behind Kurtley Beale, therefore alienating other candidates i.e. Berrick Barnes, and justified his own error rate as a by-product of his fighting spirit.
As a rugby fan and a Quade Cooper fan, I found his comments to be lacking any substance but ultimately harmless but this weekend he has taken to Twitter, the sportsman’s medium of choice for ill-advised comments, to further wage his war on conservative Australian rugby. Subtlety has never been Twitter’s strong suit as Quade illustrated as he further fueled speculation that he has his eye on a code-swap despite having signed on with the Reds for the next three years and being mid-negotiation with the ARU.
Who knows what it all means? Is it an ingenious social media enabled masterstroke from Cooper to orchestrate a better deal with the ARU (that’s a joke, yeah). Is Cooper trying to drum up a bit of interest from within the NRL or trying to martyr himself out of his current obligations with the Reds and ARU. Or is it just a simple case of innocent bro-love gone wrong. It doesn’t matter as I’m not aware of any interest within the NRL at this point and I could not see how the Roosters (if the even wanted him), could afford him without Cooper taking a massive pay cut. And as if his manager, Khoder ‘1 season deal’ Nasser is going to go for that. It all looks like a pretty twitter-esque exercise in narcissism but the real heat came when Cooper directed his comments at the ARU and inferred that Deans would not allow him to play his natural game.
Cooper followed this up with a series of tweets which were later deleted.
“Might thoughts on rugby now is who’s playing … my thoughts on other codes how the f- do we get tickets !!”
Followed by this tweet second:
“I love rugby but there’s s-t going on behind and above the players the effects the whole organisation! Happens at the reds few years back.”
Cooper was sounded out for a response or explanation for his tweets and he hold back
There’s a lot of people who are afraid to say what they feel so they just go along with it and nothing is going to change,” he told AAP on Sunday night.
“That’s why I feel so strongly as a player. I don’t want to be involved in the toxic environment, and that’s how it is at the moment.
“It’s an environment where things aren’t going according to plan and everyone is looking to point the finger.”
Cooper stressed he loved the code and would continue to play under Deans, who is under pressure to keep his job from Reds coach Ewen McKenzie.
“All I want to do is fix the problems and get on with it and win rugby games,” the 24-year-old said.
“But if to say that Ewen is the next coach of course I would support that.
“That’s not to say I’m not supporting Robbie. He’s done a lot for me as a kid coming through.
“I’m very respectful to Robbie and I’m very thankful to Robbie as well for giving me the opportunity that he has.
“But for me it’s about bettering myself and bettering the country and I’m just sick of losing to the All Blacks.
“I hate losing.”
via The Roar
Cooper could be right. The inconsistent nature of Deans-era Wallabies points to behind the scenes problems that certainly can’t be levelled at Cooper, or any individual for that matter. It’s a culture problem and it’s admirable that Cooper ‘appears’ to be keen on changing. Skeptics will point to the fact that he is mid-negotiation and there is always speculation that he wants to head to Rugby League but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is aware of his limitations. He’s not Sonny Bill Williams. Cooper has the raw creative talent but he doesn’t have the size or durability to succeed in the NRL at the moment. It would be a disaster.
If Cooper is trying to amend this ‘toxic’ Wallaby culture, then he is going the wrong way about it. With the team rocked by injuries and on the other side of the world about to begin a very tricky two match tour, the last thing they need is a prominent member of the squad creating disharmony and further exasperating existing problems and further splitting existing factions. Rugby in Australia is on the verge of a major shake up which will yield some major casualties. Despite his intentions and the direction to which changes will point, Cooper has put himself square in the firing line. Cooper is entitled to his opinion and so is every other member of the Wallaby squad. It’s just that most of them have the sense and class not to voice it on Twitter.
Some of Coopers better moments.
Picture by Mark Kolbe at Getty Images.