Cooper content, confident he can fight back

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Banished Reds star Quade Cooper couldn't be happier for his Queensland teammates, despite not being part of their resurgent 3-1 start to the Super Rugby season.

As the Reds prepare to face the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday morning (AEDT), the mercurial flyhalf is gearing up for the opening round of Queensland Premier Rugby - his beloved Souths Magpies enjoying the bye this weekend before hosting Easts at Chipsy Wood Oval on Saturday week.

It's a touch surreal seeing Cooper decked out in Magpies kit rather than Reds or Wallabies gear but the 29-year-old made his intention to stay in Queensland very clear.

"I'm very happy where I am," Cooper told reporters on Wednesday.

"I signed a three year contract.Quade Cooper isn't going anywhere. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"When you sign a three year contract, that's showing your cards as it is.

"I want to be here for three years, I want to enjoy my time here and I get the opportunity to play for my club.

"The rest will look after itself.

"If the opportunity arises where I get the chance to represent the Reds and the Wallabies again, then so be it.

"But at this point in time, I've got a great opportunity to represent this great club, to go out there and hopefully win a title for Souths."

Cooper made an impressive return to rugby with Souths in a trial against Norths on Saturday and playing good footy in club land is all he is focused on, for now.Cooper still aspires to earn his place back in the Reds setup. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"It was fun to be back out there," he said.

"I haven't played there, at Souths, for many a year so it was great to be back around there.

"I had my family and friends come out and watch and it was just good to be a part of a club football team.

"Every other time I have played there I've had a target on my chest and it made for an exciting outing.

"Even on the weekend I copped a few hits but that's part and parcel of playing club football.

"I'm very happy and content."

Cooper also had nothing but kind words for his Reds teammates, who have been mighty impressive through a string of three straight wins.Cooper is happy for the resurgent Reds. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I'm happy for them," he said.

"I'm still part of the team and played 120 odd games for the club.

"The better they go, the (better) flow on effect into Premier Rugby.

"The better each Australian franchise is doing, the better for Australian rugby on the whole."

And while he admits there was some rust in his attacking arsenal on Saturday, Cooper wholeheartedly believes there is no better pathway back to Ballymore than Premier Rugby.

"It's definitely a platform - it has to be used that way," he said.

"Whenever I go to a school or go and watch a game, parents always come up to me and ask me about the pathway for their kids to reach the top - to play for the Reds or to play for the Wallabies - and club rugby is that pathway.

"So for me to be able to use that pathway that's there in place for us - it's a great opportunity.

"If there wasn't a pathway why would you have all these kids lining up to play Colts, Premier Rugby and aspiring to play for their country at some stage?"