Former St George Illawarra gun Matt Cooper has left the NRL world baffled after taking to Twitter in an attempt to explain why he snubbed a Dragons premiership reunion last weekend. Cooper's reasoning, that he didn't want to 'make a scene', lead to criticism of the 243-game veteran of the club.
Cooper has long made it clear his has issues with his former club, but many in the NRL world were surprised and disappointed when his posts went public. Among the reasons why he was snubbing the 2010 premiership reunion was, according to him, the presence of a former club CEO and another unnamed player who didn't take the field in the grand final.
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Additionally, he hinted at 'what happened with me when I retired' in a subsequent tweet, only say he would offer more detail about that next year. In a subsequent conversation with Channel 9 league insider 'The Mole', Cooper said his frustration went back to a job offer that never eventuated, and that he was waiting until next year to reveal more detail so that it would get more media exposure.
"I want to apologise to my 2010 premiership team for not attending the 10-12year reunion. The reason why I did not attend, was I didn’t want to make a scene and ruin a special occasion! Knowing (a) former CEO and a player who did not even play in the game were going to be there," Cooper posted on Twitter.
"I can see a lot of people are wondering why I sent that tweet, it was my only way to let the players know why I wasn’t there. With the why, it has to do with what happened to me when I retired, I’m not ready to share that right now, but the truth will come out next year."
Many within the NRL world were left puzzled by Cooper's reasoning, particularly the fact that he was drawing a line of the the presence of another player who didn't take the field in their victory over the Sydney Roosters. Rugby league great Scott Sattler was among those left disappointed by the Dragons great's attitude.
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The former Panthers premiership star said it was a bad look for Cooper, given most players would get an invite regardless of whether they played 80 minutes or eight seconds. "Matty Cooper's been very critical of his former club," Sattler said on SEN radio.
"(He's played) 250 games for the club, (he's) one of the great players, mind you. To go on Twitter and explain to the fans why he didn't go to their 10-year reunion ... it's baffling why he tried to bring the attention onto him like that.
"I'm a little bit disappointed, to be quite honest. The reasons (for Cooper not attending) ... he said a former CEO is going to be there and a player who didn't even play in the game (2010 grand final) was going to be there. If there's a player that's a part of the first-grade squad, that was a part of a squad that wins the comp in 2010, for example, even if they play one second or one minute of that year, they should be invited to reunions."
Cooper formed a formidable partnership with Mark Gasnier during the 2000s, and Sattler said it was a shame the 243-game club great felt it was necessary to 'slander' his former club. Sattler was also baffled that the presence of one fringe player was enough to taint the event for Cooper.
"We have a get-together every year, the 2003 (Panthers) side," Sattler added. "We invite every player that played one second that year, and so they should.
"So, for Matty Cooper, I would like to say we've all been there upon retirement or getting close to the end of our careers where we possibly get promised something and it doesn't come to fruition. You've just got to get over it and we have to stop trying to destabilise a club you served so proudly, try and come up with solutions on how you can be successful again. Going on Twitter and slandering the club again — I don't think that's the right way forward."
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