Give it a rest against Cooper

David Lord Columnist

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    Booing Quade Cooper at ANZ Stadium last Saturday night didn’t achieve anything. It’s a hangover from Hong Kong in 2010.

    In that match, Cooper shoved All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw by the head after James O’Connor has scored a last-minute try, then converted it from touch for a 26-24 victory.

    There were a couple of brushes between the two until the one the Kiwi fans were booing at ANZ, the alleged kneeing of McCaw by Cooper at Suncorp in 2011 in the Tri-Nations decider.

    Cooper was cited and found not guilty of any wrong-doing, but in many of the Kiwi fans’ eyes, he was in the wrong and should have been suspended.

    That spilled over into the Rugby World Cup, and judging from last Saturday night, the anti-Cooper feeling is still there.

    Which translates to something far bigger in Wellington next Saturday night, which looms as a sell-out.

    Get over it Kiwis, get a life. Something tells me that won’t happen.

    Now if the Wallaby fans were booing Colin Meads for purposely ripping Wallaby legend Ken Catchpole in half at the SCG in 1968 to end his magnificent career, I would lead the protesters.

    What compounded the disgrace, Dr Roger Vanderfield was the referee, Meads wasn’t even penalised and it happened right in front of Vanderfield. Years later Meads was knighted, one of rugby’s blackest moments.

    It would be like knighting Richard Loe for deliberately smashing Wallaby winger Paul Carozza’s nose all over his face when the Australian scored in a 1992 Bledisloe.

    What Cooper did to McCaw was puerile compared to Meads and Loe. But when fans get a bee under their bonnet, there’s not much that can be done to stop it.

    Just as a matter of interest, I surfed the internet to find other “hated” sportsmen, and came up with four shocks – Lleyton Hewitt, Phil Mickelson, Kobe Bryant, and Barry Bonds.

    We know Hewitt as a 100 percenter on court, with a huge heart. When he’s won or done, there’s nothing left in the tank.

    But Hewitt was taken to the cleaners by Mary Carillo, former circuit player, and now an outstanding television commentator.

    “Hewitt drives the guys crazy. They try to ignore him, but he’s always barking on the other side of the net”.

    Hewitt has had many run-ins with Argentinians, mainly Juan Ignacio Chela, who shouldered Hewitt on a changeover and spat on him during the 2005 Australian Open,

    But it’s Chela’s Davis Cup mate Guillerno Coria who dropped the bucket on the Aussie,

    “Hewitt is disliked by every other player on the international circuit”.

    Don’t know about you Roarers, but that comment doesn’t equate to me.

    Nor does the vitriol thrown at Phil Mickelson, one of the few golfers who spends up to two hours every day signing autographs for adults and kids alike.

    “That’s all part of the sham, the big smile and the preening, which is why his nickname on tour is FIGJAM – f*** I’m good, just ask me,” said a tour pro who wasn’t named.

    Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was taken to the cleaners as well, this time by Greg Anthony, former NBA player and now ESPN analyst.

    “He’s a very selfish player, he’s only for himself, and has always been accused of not endearing himself to team-mates”.

    And Barry Bonds, who for 22 years played Major League Baseball always with a bad attitude, with a record 742 home runs, and a litany of run-ins with most people, including the law.

    For the majority of those 22 years, Bonds was the undisputed winner of the MDP award – the Most Despised Player.

    So Quade, you are not in that league, so just get on with it, and start winning some games for the Wallabies – boos and all.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles