New Melbourne Rebels skipper Dane Haylett-Petty says he's been blown away by recruit Quade Cooper since his arrival at the Super Rugby club.
Cooper wasn't wanted by Queensland, where he earned 119 caps, with Reds coach Brad Thorn saying he didn't fit with their new culture.
But Haylett-Petty, who has replaced Adam Coleman as Rebels captain, says Cooper is having a positive impact at his new club.
"I think the big thing for me is whether he's on the field or off he's such a good influence on the group, especially the younger guys," Haylett-Petty said.
"He's the ultimate professional and sets a really good example for the boys and his rugby IQ is amazing - like no-one I've ever played with or met - so just that knowledge he can impart to the group is amazing."
The Rebels open their season against the Brumbies in Canberra next Friday night with Haylett-Petty eager to see Cooper re-ignite his halves partnership with Will Genia.
Cooper and Genia were unstoppable as a pairing in the Reds' run to the 2011 Super Rugby title.
"I'm probably expecting a bit of Quade magic," Haylett-Petty said.
"I'm really excited about seeing Will and Quade, their combination back together. We know how dangerous they were for the Reds."
Haylett-Petty managed 11 games for the Rebels last season after a heavy concussion and then neck problem but after a strong back-end of the year the fullback said he would be ready for round one.
"Obviously it was a disappointing Super Rugby season last year but I managed to get fit and play all of the Wallabies games so I had a good six or seven months and I'm really looking forward to this season," the 29-year-old said.
He said there was high expectation on the team to make finals after falling just short in 2018, which came after a stilted preparation following the axing of the Western Force
"We started quite well, surprisingly considering how little time we had to come together last year but we were very disappointed not to play in finals, Haylett-Petty said.
"I think all the changes that we made off the field, this is the best placed the club's ever been going into a season which is really exciting."