He has won Â premierships, represented both NSW and Australia, and at age 31, Matt Cooper might believe that the curtain is closing on his great career, but coach Wayne Bennett is trying to convince the star St George centre to play on after 2011.
For Bennett, he sees no reason why Cooper should stop playing at this stage, as he embarks on his 13th season in the NRL as a player.
”He looks after himself really well,” Bennett said.
”He’s a good pro. He knows what to do and he knows how to do it. I still think he’s got a couple of years left in him.”
With Cooper planning to play his entire career with the Dragons, the glowing endorsement from Bennett is a breath of fresh air, as Cooper just can not see himself playing anywhere else.
”It would be pretty sad if I had to leave and play one season somewhere else,” he said. ”I spent my whole career at this club.”
With the salary cap, and trying to fitting Cooper under it one problem, the future of coach Wayne Bennett at the club is also a key factor in the final decision that Cooper will make.
”Wayne was the reason I stayed here a couple of years ago,” Cooper said.
”I was going to go to England but I ended up staying here. As players, we’d love Wayne to stay on, and I’m keen to stay here. I know I can play a couple more years.”
Dragons fans can breathe easy for the time being however, with Cooper and his manager George Mimis set to sit down with the club, and begin negotiations.