Tag Archive: Matt Cooper

Dragons win World Club Challenge

St George Illawarra captured the World Club Challenge title for the first time with a 21-15 win over three-time champions Wigan at DW Stadium on Sunday night.

After being blown away in the opening four minutes, the NRL premiers showed their mettle to pull off the victory in front of 24,268 fans in cool, clear conditions.

By their high standards, it was a mistake-riddled performance by the Dragons and showed they were still in pre-season mode.

Winger Brett Morris was man of the match, the winger scoring two tries and causing havoc down the left side all evening as the Dragons prevailed without coach Wayne Bennett on the sidelines.

The hosts had a pre-match blow with workhorse Stuart Fielden sitting out the match alongside the suspended Jeff Lima.

To rev up the crowd, the Warriors paraded members of their 1987 World Club Challenge winning side before a minute’s silence in respect for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake. Continue reading

Dragons show no charity towards Bunnies

Four months after their drought-breaking premiership win, St George Illawarra have returned to the scene of their triumph to thump South Sydney 32-10 in the Charity Shield at ANZ Stadium. Despite missing up to half a dozen regulars, the Dragons were too fast, too strong and too smart for a disappointing Rabbitohs outfit. The Red V sent a strong message to rival clubs that they will again be up there in 2011 with a resounding six tries to two victory before 19,267 fans. It was St George Illawarra’s first Charity Shield win since 2007 and the perfect tune-up for their World Club Challenge showdown with Wigan in England on February 27. Both sides went into the biggest of the pre-season trial matches severely under-strength following a string of withdrawals prior to kick off. The Rabbitohs were without star off-season recruit Greg Inglis, Kiwi international Issac Luke and Sam Burgess while the Dragons’ absentees included Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Dean Young and Brett Morris. Continue reading

Dragons to make room for Cooper

St George Illawarra centre Matt Cooper says he is a certain starter against Gold Coast on Friday night for what will be his first NRL match in over a month. Cooper has been sidelined since June 16 after damaging his hamstring in the final moments of NSW’s series-deciding Origin II loss to Queensland at Suncorp Stadium. The former Test three-quarter suffered the injury after hyper-extending his knee, but says he is in no doubt to face the Titans at WIN Jubilee Oval. “It’s been a bit of a struggle sitting on the sidelines watching the boys play,” Cooper said of after the side’s final training run in Wollongong on Thursday. “The rehab’s been going really well, the physios and the trainers have done a great job with me and I’m keen to get back out there this weekend. “I’m going into the game 100 per cent.” Cooper’s return will see him rekindle his centre partnership with former NSW teammate Mark Gasnier, the pair to line up together for the first time since Gasnier’s return to the NRL this month. Gasnier will again start the game from the bench, with Blues centre Beau Scott again preferred on the right edge. Dragons coach Wayne Bennett said no decision had been made on which players will drop off the bench, with two of Ricky Thorby, Jon Green and Nick Emmett set to miss the final cut.

Cooper sidelined with hip injury

St George Illawarra centre Matt Cooper is out of Friday night’s NRL blockbuster against Parramatta with a bruised hip. Cooper copped a bump on his right hip late in the first half of NSW’s State of Origin loss to Queensland on Wednesday night. He failed to come out for the second half as the Blues went down 28-24 to leave the Maroons on the brink of a fifth straight series win. Cooper said he expected to miss just the Eels encounter with rookie Kyle Stanley set to come off an extended bench into the starting line-up. The remainder of the Dragons’ Origin stars are set to backup on Friday night.

Injuries o’plenty from Dragons v Eels clash

St George Illawarra and Parramatta were counting the cost of Friday night’s season opening NRL clash with Nathan Fien and Shane Shackleton looking at lengthy stints on the sidelines. Fien’s injury looked to be the most serious, the Dragons hooker suffering a suspected broken ankle, losing Matt Cooper (hamstring) before the match joining Neville Costigan (shoulder), Peni Tagive (knee) and Kyle Stanley (ankle) who are already on the sidelines. Shackleton’s first NRL match for the Eels ended in the first minute of the second half when he had to be assisted off with what looked to be a serious hamstring tear, Parramatta had already lost centre Joel Reddy to a hamstring injury in the warm-up and he was replaced in the run-on side by Krisnan Inu.