Cooper a class above as Souths cruise to win

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Quade Cooper's return to Queensland Premier Rugby has been a glorious one, starring for Souths as they beat Easts 39-31.

A jam packed Chipsy Wood Oval oozed anticipation as Cooper led the Magpies onto the park and from the outset, the 70 Test flyhalf set the field alight.

He juked his way through the line, threw swooping passes to exploit Easts down the right wing and set up two tries with offloads through contact.

When the game was run and won - in the first half - Cooper was one of, if not the best, player on the ground.

The 30-year-old had a direct hand in three of Souths' six tries and was used as an eye catching decoy for one other but his best moment coming five minutes prior to half time.

Cooper spotted an opportunity to counterattack after a wayward Easts kick from inside their own 22, throwing a beautiful 25m cutout to his right which put the Magpies away for Semiti Tela's second of the afternoon.

It was a reminder that Cooper is very much still a star in his own right and he will draw crowds wherever the Magpies go this season.

Souths were forced to work for their win as Easts made a late charge having trailed 39-12 early in the second half but the deficit was too much to overcome.

It was a win that reminded Cooper how much he loved club rugby.

"It's just good to be back out there playing football," Cooper told post match.Cooper's first Premier Grade game for 2018 was a stellar one. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"It's what I love to do and I'm just excited to be here and excited for next week already.

"Football has been the love of my life since I can remember so I'm just loving being out here.

"I'm really thankful to Souths for the opportunity."

Cooper sported the captain's armband for Souths and he was a vocal leader on field, particularly when the heat was on the Magpies through the middle section of the first term.

"I'm always very vocal in every team that I'm part of," Cooper said.

"It's been great to be able to be a leader here and obviously the faith shown in me by the club.

"Our coaching staff and the club in general.

"They've been a big part of my life - this is the first club I played for when I moved to Australia and they're continuing to show that support."