Win or lose on Saturday night, Melbourne playmaker Quade Cooper should shake Reds Super Rugby coach Brad Thorn’s hand for giving him a real crack at this year’s Rugby World Cup, according to former Wallabies fullback Greg Martin.
The 30-year-old joined the Rebels this year after being sidelined for an entire season by Thorn, who said the 118-game veteran no longer fitted with their culture.
Martin said Cooper would be welcomed back by the Reds faithful, who would applaud how he used the relegation to club rugby last year to make himself a better player and a better person.
And he had Thorn to thank for that.
“He made a real turnaround last year going back to club footy,” Martin told AAP.
“I’m of the belief he should be shaking Brad Thorn’s hand after the game and going ‘Thanks – you reminded me about humility and to be grateful’ because last year changed him as a person.
“Last year made him realise what the game’s about and it changed him and it’s also made him a better footballer.”
While Cooper’s high risk, high reward plays don’t always come off, he’s been integral to the Rebels’ improved attack, while he’s also improved his once flaky defence.
The television commentator and radio host said he would definitely pick him if the Wallabies’ World Cup squad was named today.
“I’ve named him in my Wallabies team – we can’t keep doing the same things otherwise we’re not going to win any games at the World Cup and we’re not going to beat New Zealand,” Martin said.
“We’ve got to introduce something new and I reckon he’s the form five-eighth.”
While Queensland skipper Samu Kerevi said on Friday there were no personal battles, Martin predicted Cooper would be targeted with Kerevi leading the charge.
“Yes it’s a test for Quade but he’s more closely monitored than most other players and he doesn’t care about pressure.”
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