Mike Cooper firing England in World Cup just months after being dumped by Warrington

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josie andrews
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Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:17 pm
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Mike Cooper firing England in World Cup just months after being dumped by Warrington

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The veteran prop was let go by Warrington a few months ago but proved his worth at Wigan and is now charging on in England's World Cup bid, keeping some big names out.

Mike Cooper was dumped by relegation-threatened Warrington just four months ago yet is now firing England’s power machine in the World Cup.

He’s one of many redemption stories in Shaun Wane’s side who stand just 80 minutes away from the final after utterly wrecking Papua New Guinea. They face Samoa in Saturday’s Emirates semi-final and, encouragingly, just keep getting better and better. Red-hot prop Tom Burgess bullied the usually tough Kumuls early on, England forging 38-0 ahead by the break with one of the best halves of Test rugby league anyone’s ever likely to see.

And Cooper - revitalised after his move to Wigan in July - came off the bench to keep bashing them. The 34-year-old said: “The boys that started, started really well and it set a platform. We were just relentless. Everything we stand for as a team - toughness, hard-working - was there and we put it on. That’s what we’re about.

PNG didn’t stop trying but we were just too much for them today. I don’t think anyone has done that to them before, have they?”

It certainly sent out a clear message ahead of their latest date at Arsenal. Former St George-Illawarra forward Cooper added: “It’ll be a special occasion going down there. We’re going to be together now pretty much in camp with no break so we’ll get closer together as a team. And we can perform a lot better.

“This is already the tightest group I've ever experienced. We’ve some values we’re sticking by and working towards and each week we’re showing that. We’re going to be hard to beat.”

When Wolves legend Cooper was told he could leave Warrington, he could never have envisaged now being so integral to England’s bid for a first World Cup success. But he’s thriving alongside fellow golden oldie Chris Hill and he kept NRL star Luke Thompson out of Saturday’s 17 at Wigan, his all-action display silencing critics baffled by that selection. Cooper recalled: “I don’t really think about that or take on board what people say.

It’s what the coach thinks that matters and your teammates. There are a couple of old boys in the team who’ve been around a long time but if people are questioning it, hopefully, it’s answered now. When I came here, I just wanted to make sure I was playing for Wigan. That was the main thing. Not this.

“So to get an opportunity to be part of my first World Cup is special. We are building something. Tom was great and if Hilly was in the NRL he'd be on multi-million dollar contracts. He’s consistently been one of the world's best front-rows.”

St Helens winger Tommy Makinson scored an England-record five tries in front of the watching Princess of Wales. He also added five goals while Burgess, Dom Young, George Williams and Kallum Watkins also crossed. Jimmy Ngutlik got a 69th-minute consolation for the Papuans, Rhyse Martin converting, but they’d been completely steamrolled by that point. They might not be the last team to suffer that fate at the hands of regal England.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/rugby-le ... d-28423978
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage. #18thMan
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