Cooper has always had the talent, but when your team is losing or the media is pushing the barrow of a younger rookie – it’s easy for a veteran performer to be forgotten.
Bennett has been backing Cooper ever since the former Broncos coach stepped into the helm at Kogarah and it’s been producing some of Coopers best footy.
With Cooper being selected in the NRL Allstars team, with a mouth watering match up on Greg Inglis if the Storm star proves fit – the man they say is the best defensive centre in the game, will have his work cut out should GI take the field.
But looking at the bigger picture, Cooper is already aiming for NSW Origin selection once more in 2010.
Surprisingly not selected in State of Origin since 2007, many would have thought barring injury – Cooper should be one of the first selected. As the guy is a genuine try scorer, but has that smart defensive ability – that saves so many tries too.
Injury has always been Coopers’ nemesis, but the Dragons flyer is hinting at possibly his fittest period in recent memory.
A good offseason has allowed him to overcome a nagging heel injury from 2009, an injury that he said really should have prevented him from playing on several occasions.
And you’d have to think the veteran is enjoying life under Wayne Bennett. The likes of Cooper, Gasnier and Barrett seemed to suffer under the pressure during the reign of Nathan Brown – with all these senior guys feeling constant heat and seemingly always in the spotlight.
Now with Bennett at the helm it seems to have helped the likes of Cooper, who is one of the few senior guys left from the past Dragons era.