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Matt Cooper Signs Contract Extension With Dragons

By Staff Writer    |    NRL, Rugby League   |   Jul 22, 2011 01:38 PM

St George Illawarra centre Matt Cooper has ensured he will retire a one club player after re-signing with the Dragons for a further two seasons.

Cooper had been the subject of interest from the English Super League, however the 32 year old said remaining a one club player was paramount.

“I feel really good to have been able to extend my contract knowing now that I’ll be a Dragon for the rest of my career,” Cooper said.

“Being a one club player has always been a dream of mine. I love the club and I love the area and know that we will continue to be a strong club under the guidance of Steve Price from next year.”

The Dragons are set to be without the services of master coach Wayne Bennett next season as well as Darius Boyd, Mark Gasnier, Jon Green and Jack Bossden. However Cooper said despite the losses he never entertained the thought of joining the Dragons exodus.

“I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I want to stay here at the Dragons. I’ve been here my whole career and I love the club and the fans,” Cooper said.

“We’re going to lose Darius Boyd and Mark Gasnier and a couple of the other young boys and we’re going to miss them. But we still have a great core of players here in Dean Young, Ben Hornby, Ben Creagh, players like that.

“We’re going to be strong next year and I’m looking forward to see how Steve (Price) goes. I rate him as a coach and as a person. I’m good mates with him and I support him all the way.”

Dragons Chief Executive Peter Doust was also glad that Cooper has re-committed to the club.

“Matt is a local junior and a valuable member of our senior playing group and I am sure that all Dragons fans will be pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement to see Matt remain with our club,” Doust said.

“Matt has been a significant contributor to our club both on and off the field for a number of years and he will continue to play a valuable leadership role under Steve Price moving forward next year.”

Cooper debuted for the Dragons in 2000, and since then he has racked up 211 games, which places him second behind Ben Hornby in terms of total games played for the joint venture club.

Cooper represented Australia seven times between 2004 and 2006, while he played the last of his 12 state of origin matches in 2010.

Cooper has scored the most ever tries for the joint venture club, while he sits fourth in terms of all time points scored.