Cooper taking Stewart under his wing

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Quade Cooper hopes to be the playmaking tutor that Hamish Stewart needs, the kind that he never had while developing into a world class steer.

As a 20-year-old, Stewart has all the weapons required to be a top class flyhalf and in many ways, that is reminiscent of Cooper's raw ability at the same age.

He has the booming, 55 metre kick that Australian rugby craves, the physicality in defence and the natural playmaking nous.

But what he doesn't have is Super Rugby experience and that's where Cooper hopes to take the young gun under his wing.

The pair have roomed together on away trips this season and that has helped forge a bond that will undoubtably grow in the years ahead.Hamish Stewart starred at the World Rugby U20s Championship. Photo: ARU Media/Levan Verdzeuli"He's a good, young lad and a good bloke as well," Cooper said.

"I've been interested in his rise and in terms of playing the same position, it's been nice to have a young guy under me.

"We've been able to bounce things off each other and hopefully I can be a mentor in some ways. 

"When I was coming through I didn't have that luxury - to have a guy show me the ropes.Cooper was sporting the Reds Indigenous kit at Norths today. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"I've really enjoyed being able to do that with Hamish a little bit and I look forward to playing with him."

Season 2017 has been well below par for the Reds.

Expected to be serious Australian Conference contenders, they have just three wins to their name - the same number as last season.

A win against the Brumbies in Rob Simmons' final home game would raise the spirits of the tortured fanbase, which expected far better things from this list.

"The important thing for us is finishing on a high in front of our home crowd," Cooper said.

"It's been a difficult season in some parts but it has been rewarding in terms of some guys being able to step up and get some minutes and grow as players.Cooper made three cameos from the bench in June. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We are looking forward to this game and the significance it holds in terms of our future."

Cooper only played the equivalent of a half of football through the three June Tests and that means he is fresh and ready to take on the Brumbies - a team the Reds have consistently struggled against since the turn of the decade.

"They're sitting at the top of the Australian Conference for a reason," he said.

"They're a very successful side over the past few years and we know it's going to be a tough game.

"We know that if we focus on our performance and do what we train to do, we will get the win.

"There is a lot on the line for us in terms of it being our last home game and we want to send Simmo out on a high."

The Reds face the Brumbies tomorrow night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on radio at RUGBY.com.au.

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