James Mortimer 21.Nov.2012Getty Images
Cooper was offered a revised Australian Rugby Union contract, one that offered match payments only, which would be pending on whether or not he was selected for the Wallabies, which ordinarily is a contract offered to new Test players – whereas established stars receive ‘top ups’ from the national union to supplement their Super Rugby income.
While Cooper had confirmed with Queensland he would sign a three-year contract with the Reds, finalising such deals depends on the closing negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union.
Cooper’s contract negotiations were never going to be amicable considering he fronted the ARU to explain a misconduct charge a week earlier, where he was handed a $60,000 AUD fine (with a third of that suspended), for criticising the Wallabies, Robbie Deans and the game in Australia in general.
While Channel Nine in Australia broke news that Cooper was quitting rugby, no official announcement has been made either by the playmaker or by the ARU, although arguably his greatest supporter in Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said he was still hopeful of retaining him for next year’s Super Rugby campaign.
He said that Queensland Rugby had no comment regarding his future plans.
“You've got to understand that we're not likely to speak to him because he's on leave for a start,” McKenzie said.
“Secondly, he's in negotiations with the ARU and we're not involved in those negotiations. The frustration has been that we (Queensland) came to terms with Quade some time ago, back in June now, and he declared his intentions to rugby and to us for three years.
“He's given us his word on that topic. I think I spoke to him maybe seven or eight days ago and, as far as I was concerned, I've never felt that he was going to do anything other than play for the Reds. So that's how I approach it at the moment, until someone informs me otherwise.
The one definite is that Cooper will not be joining Sonny Bill Williams at the Sydney City Roosters in the NRL, after the club said they could not afford the two players until the 2014 season at the earliest.
Cooper is expected to fight his first professional boxing match as an undercard for Williams rescheduled fight against South African Francois Botha.
The Reds first five played 27 Tests guiding the Wallabies backline, and his winning percentage rates with some of the greats of Australian rugby.
The Wallabies won 70% of their matches with Cooper playing at ten, equal with Stephen Larkham, and just behind the most successful winning Australian first five-eighth of all time in Michael Lynagh, with the side winning 71% of their games with ‘Noddy’ playing at first receiver.