Mike Cooper

In a growing list of English-based rugby league players to join the NRL, Warrington Wolves prop Mike Cooper is the latest to join that list – signing a 2-year deal with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Cooper, who is 24, will start his tenure at the Dragons at the end of the 2013 season, before returning to Warrington once the two years is over, as part of a deal with Warrington.

Cooper is a solid runner of the ball and a hard hitter in defence, and received advice from former NRL forward Adrian Morley about the benefits of a move to the NRL – an opportunity that Cooper is pleased to have.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since the age of 16. Being a Warrington lad, I’m very proud to have been a part of what the club has achieved over the last couple seasons with the recent success in the Challenge Cup and in reaching the Grand Final,” said Cooper.

“The next step for me is to test myself in Australia and gain some experience. I’m fully aware it’s going to be big learning curve for me; I’ll be back at square one again really but it’s something that really excites me.

“There were a couple of clubs that we were speaking to within the NRL having watched the last couple of seasons. St George Illawarra is a club with a great heritage; this along with the big names involved with club and the pictures of where they are based at Wollongong ,ticked all the boxes for me.

“I am greatly appreciative of Simon, Tony and Warrington as a club for allowing me to go. I’m 100% focussed on this season with Warrington and the ambition is to win all three trophies this year with this club. My focus is purely on the Super League and Warrington come the end of the season is when I’ll start to concentrate on what’s happening in Australia.”

Tony Smith, the club’s head coach who is a former Illawarra Steeler and Dragon himself, are pleased to see Cooper receive such an opportunity.

“I’m pleased for Mike and we are pleased as a club to support him in his desires to add to his career tuition. We are happy to assist him in developing himself as a player and we hope this opportunity will be of benefit to both Mike and this club at some stage in the future,” said Smith.

“Mike has expressed that he has no wish to play for any other English or Super League club however he does have a desire to go and test his wares in the NRL and he’s been fortunate to be given that opportunity by St George Illawarra.”

The Dragons are just as excited to have signed the English forward, with CEO Peter Doust looking forward to seeing the young, talented prop in action from next year.

“Mike is a rising young forward in the English Sper League who was keen to further develop his career in Australia,” said Doust.

“A number of people based in England have recommended Mike to us and he is a good value proposition for us over the next two seasons”.

By ricky

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