Quade Cooper returned to Test footy in brilliant fashion over the weekend. The veteran playmaker sealed the Wallabies’ dramatic 28-26 win over the world champion Springboks with a successful kick at the death.
Cooper was steady throughout the match and was perfect from the tee, most notably with the match-winner.
The distance brought Reece Hodge’s name briefly into consideration. However, there was simply no one else for the moment. Win or lose, the match was on Cooper’s shoulders. The rest is history.
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After the match, he stopped to have a chat with Stan Sport HQ. Instead of first discussing his heroics, he took the opportunity to honour his long-time mate Sonny Bill Williams.
“I hate to put my brother in the studio on the spot there… I’m so grateful for him.
“When things went a bit pear-shaped a few years ago, he was the first guy to reach out to me. I spent about two to three months with him, just living with him every day, and seeing what it takes to be a good, strong man.
“You see him with his family. You see him with his teammates, the dedication, the hard work that he puts into his day-to-day life… every single day about being a better man…”
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Sonny Bill was clearly touched and said what many were thinking, that Cooper had made a statement by wanting the ball in a high-pressure moment.
It’s been a long road back for Cooper. Many have wondered why he hasn’t gotten a chance before now. Perhaps Sean Maloney summed it up best in Quade’s own words as he lined up the kick.
“He said it’s not all about the rugby. He just wanted to be a better version of himself. Can he have the best of both worlds in 2021?”