Reds running a risk without Cooper: Ioane

Brisbane Tens
by Sam Phillips

Digby Ioane has weighed in on the Quade Cooper saga, labelling the "sad" situation one the Reds may soon regret.

Ioane, who has remained close to Cooper since leaving the Reds at the end of 2013, didn't hold back when asked about the strange predicament the playmaker finds himself in at the launch of the Brisbane Tens.

"How much does it take to prove yourself?" Ioane said.

"He has got the experience and it's just so weird - I've never seen that before.

"It's hard to say but it's not like they have five-eights falling off a tree.Quade Cooper is unwanted at Ballymore. Photo: Walmsley"You need depth in Australia and Quade is one of their most experienced players and he's a good leader."

While he feels for Cooper, Ioane cheekily suggested he wouldn't mind swapping places with the mercurial flyhalf, given his struggle to stay on the field over the latter part of his career.

"It's a bit sad - he didn't do anything wrong and I feel for him," Ioane said.

"He's the most expensive club player - I would take that job (laughs) - that should be me, with my body.

"He's still getting paid, playing rugby and club footy, that's where you start.

"Good on him - I hope he stays at Souths, doesn't go anywhere and proves himself again."Cooper and Ioane remain close since the latter left the Reds. Photo: Getty ImagesBerrick Barnes had a similar take on the Cooper dilemma and suggested his flair would suit the fast paced nature of the Top League.

"It's strange but he has signed his deal and the Reds owe him that," Barnes said.

"The ball is in his court as to what he wants to do with his future and he will make the best decision for him."

Ioane has secured a release from the second year of his Crusaders contract, such is the struggle with his body.

The 32-year-old will have a three month break after the Tens, setting himself up for a big season at Panasonic.

"I'm feeling good but as you get old, all those injuries catch up," he said.

"That's why I got that release from Razor (Crusaders coach Scott Robertson).

"I didn't think I could keep up with the boys - I've had 15 surgeries and I'm not getting any younger."

As for what fans can expect from the Wild Knights this weekend, Ioane set his sights on a non-stop style which will replicate the rugby they played en route to this year's Top League title.

"I think we're going to do really well, coming off the season.

"The Japanese boys, they love their fast footy and some of us struggle to keep up with them at training.

"They're non-stop running, they're real fit so Tens will suit them."

The Panasonic Wild Knights will take part in the Brisbane Tens at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off on Friday at 2pm AEST. Buy tickets here.