Dragons English forward to return home at season’s end

Mike Cooper

Coming over to the NRL to test himself and prove he could cut it, Mike Cooper has so far enjoyed a solid career in Australia.

But after several years with the St George Illawarra Dragons, the forward has made a decision to return home to England due to family reasons.

Cooper will take up a deal with his former team, the Warrington Wolves and admits that whilst it was a tough decision to leave the club, it is the right one to make.

“It was a hard decision to make but both my partner and I have decided that is what is best for our young family is to return home at the end of the year,” said Cooper.

“It’s not a decision that we have both taken lightly and we both spent a lot of time thinking about what was best moving forward for the three of us.

“We will have been here three seasons come the end of the year and that is a long time to be away from family and friends, especially when you have a young child.”

Cooper praised the efforts of McGregor, who he praised for making him a better player.

“Paul McGregor was a bit shocked and disappointed but I can’t credit him enough as he respects the decision and understands the reasons completely,” Cooper added.

“He has brought me on in leaps and bounds as a player and I owe a lot to him and his staff.”

Making 59 appearances to date, the Dragons admitted that Cooper’s request took them by surprise but the club understand the reasons why.

“This request came as a surprise to us, we hoped and planned for Mike to be a part of our Club long-term,” said Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways, Ian Millward.

“In saying this, we understand and respect his family situation and will honour his request.

“Warrington worked with us to enable Mike to come to the Dragons three seasons ago and we understand why they are keen for him to return.

“Everyone here knows how committed Mike is to finishing this season and his NRL career on a high.”

Warrington are pleased to have Cooper return to the club and coach Tony Smith looks forward to have him return to the side next year.

“It’s great news and a great signing for the club,” said Smith.

“It’s probably something that we hoped for a few years ago, that Mike would eventually return to our club, but it’s probably a little sooner than we thought considering how well he’s done.

It’s a real shot in the arm for the club and we really look forward to taking on a player who seems like a veteran here in his early years, at such a young age.”

The club will embrace his return and know that he will perform for them as a local Warrington player.

“It’s testimony to Mike that he wants to come back home and play for his home-town club,” Smith added.

“He is a very proud Warrington boy and we are more than happy to embrace him and look forward to working with him again.

I enjoyed my time working with him and he has come on as a player a whole lot since then as well so I think his addition will really strengthen our club.”

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