Super Cooper takes on Crusading cousin

By Jim Morton,

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    Magician Quade Cooper even amazed his coaches and team-mates by propelling the Reds into a Super Rugby final but a rival who knows his tricks better than any other lies in wait.

    Cooper will line up opposite his second cousin and long-time childhood team-mate Sean Maitland when Queensland meets the Crusaders in Saturday night’s decider at Suncorp Stadium.

    Maitland was born five months after the Reds playmaker and grew up alongside him in the small Waikato timber town of Tokoroa where the pair played nine years of junior rugby together before Cooper moved to Brisbane.

    While Queensland had Cooper to thank for his stunning man-of-the-match display in their 30-13 semi-final victory, the Crusaders were equally grateful for winger Maitland.

    The 23-year-old flyer sparked their 29-10 thumping of the Stormers in Cape Town with an early 55m intercept try and will be sniffing out Cooper’s cut-out passes in the final.

    “I can’t let that get the better of me,” Cooper told AAP.

    “We used to play backyard footy with each other and played Under-5s all the way coming through together all the way to U-13s.

    “It will be a massive occasion.

    “Sean’s always been a good kid and very good natured, a great person, he’s pretty much opposite on the field.

    “He’s very dangerous, he’s been one of their best this year and there’s going to be a lot of threats and he’s going to be one of them.

    “I remember when we were growing up I used to pass him the ball in space and just tell him `run’ because he was so quick.”

    Reds coach Ewen McKenzie and blazing winger Rod Davies, who first played with Cooper as a schoolboy at 15, admitted even they were astonished by the Wallabies five-eighth’s freakish skills against the Blues.

    He set up one of the tries of the season to Ben Tapuai through a scintillating sideline run which bamboozled half of the Blues team.

    “As (backs coach) Jim McKay says he’s got the wand in his hand and he’s waving the wand around and people are mesmerised and things happen,” McKenzie said.

    Cooper has consistently shown his love for the big stage in 2011 and once again reserved his best for the sudden-death pressure in front of 44,940 fans – hundreds of which waited for his autograph up to 80 minutes after fulltime.

    “That’s what we play rugby for, to play big games like that,” he said. “I just love the challenge of playing footy.

    “There’s a lot of pressure on you to perform in a game like this but enjoying it and just having fun is what I like to do.

    “Where better place to do it than in front of 50,000 people in a massive backyard so that’s what I see it as, and just playing the game I’m used to.”

    The Reds emerged unscathed from their four-tries-to-one victory with No.8 Radike Samo cleared of a head knock and could be boosted by the return of winger Luke Morahan (hamstring).

    The Crusaders have halfback Andy Ellis in grave doubt with a knee injury.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • July 4th 2011 @ 9:21am
      johnny-boy said | July 4th 2011 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Aw now come on don’t tell me Maitland is another import for the Crusaders along with that Melbourne born Franks guy. I thought they were all home grown, bar a few extra All Blacks thrown in for good measure, just in case. Guffaw guffaw. The Emporers are down to their g straps.

      • July 4th 2011 @ 9:38am
        Jerry said | July 4th 2011 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Get your hand off it, JB.

      • July 4th 2011 @ 12:25pm
        Winston said | July 4th 2011 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        Where was Quade Cooper born JB?

        • Roar Guru

          July 4th 2011 @ 12:54pm
          Jiggles said | July 4th 2011 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          If you are going to claim Cooper I demand you claim Captain Marshmallow, AKA Dean Mumm, as well. 😉

          I love it how 2 seasons back not a single Kiwi in the world was claiming Cooper, but now it seems to be as if we poached him out of the all blacks!

          • July 4th 2011 @ 1:15pm
            katzilla said | July 4th 2011 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            I wouldn’t claim him for the world, but ill tell you this. If he had been just some old Maori kid caught in someones house stealing crap immigration would have had him back on a plane to NZ quicksmart.
            Different kettle of fish for a future Wallaby hall of famer aye?

            • July 4th 2011 @ 1:21pm
              johnny-boy said | July 4th 2011 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              So what do you think they should do with Jock Hobbs Katz ?

          • July 4th 2011 @ 2:02pm
            Winston said | July 4th 2011 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

            Wasn’t trying claim him Jiggles. It seemed JB thought that he was Australian born along with S Maitlland

            • July 4th 2011 @ 2:06pm
              johnny-boy said | July 4th 2011 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

              Cant’ see how you came to that conclusion Winston ????

              • July 4th 2011 @ 3:12pm
                Winston said | July 4th 2011 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                “Aw now come on don’t tell me Maitland is another import for the Crusaders along with that Melbourne born Franks guy”

                Are you serious?

              • July 5th 2011 @ 2:30am
                Spencer said | July 5th 2011 @ 2:30am | ! Report

                Winston – have a re-read. JB is referring to Crusaders “stealing” from other NZ provinces. Do you have comprehension difficulties, or may be English isn’t your first language?

              • July 5th 2011 @ 7:21am
                winston said | July 5th 2011 @ 7:21am | ! Report

                Spencer.. The comparison is talking about melbourne born franks. It could quite easily be taken either way.

    • July 4th 2011 @ 9:48am
      johnny-boy said | July 4th 2011 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Let me guess, anybody who criticizes the Crusaders is a fun wrecker yeah ?

      • July 4th 2011 @ 9:49am
        Jerry said | July 4th 2011 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Nope, but intelligent debate would be a good start.

    • July 4th 2011 @ 10:07am
      jameswm said | July 4th 2011 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      Shouldn’t we be discussing how good Cooper was?

      My son’s favourite part was when they showed the front-on shot of the Tapuai try. The camera man took the dummy – twice.

      • Roar Guru

        July 4th 2011 @ 11:58am
        Hoy said | July 4th 2011 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        Cooper is just so audacious. It is incredible to watch, and such good fun. Even if he played for whatever team you hate, you would have to say he is just an attacking freak.

        He looked well covered by Munroe. I don’t know what he thought he could do there, and I am sure how it panned out there was not what he wanted either.

        Then when he turned Kaino (was it?) inside out and took off again. Just awesome good fun to watch.

        He is tackling now too it seems. He brought down Smoking Joe well. He doesn’t want to let anyone down anymore.

        • July 4th 2011 @ 12:27pm
          Jerry said | July 4th 2011 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

          “Kaino (was it?)”

          Saili.

        • July 5th 2011 @ 6:20pm
          cinematic said | July 5th 2011 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

          Hard not to bring down Joe these days – he ran straight into Cooper who promptly fell over. Why Joe has taken to running straight into defenders is beyond me.

          And this did all happen after the whistle. Cooper is a very very poor defender (I’m talking all facets of defence). Brilliant attacker, poor defender.

    • July 5th 2011 @ 8:27am
      Damo said | July 5th 2011 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Last week it was half the All Blacks- this week it is 2/3 to 3/4 of the likely NZ selections.
      It has seemed that for two seasons that the Reds have just been increasing the size of the giants they have put on the mat.
      It is obviously not just the players. Though they have some utterly brilliant players. It is the crowd, coach, the suits, the crowd, the tactics and the crowd. Did I mention also the fans?
      Who made the fans? All of the above.
      This game won’t be about Cooper and Maitland (though it’s nice to read the history). It will be about the scrum, the breakdown (ref allowance) and line break/ points conversion rates. Quade and Sean aside here are Two teams coming from completely different rugby histories and strengths arriving at the same ground on Saturday night.
      Who will prepare the best?

    • July 6th 2011 @ 5:32pm
      Ai Rui Sheng said | July 6th 2011 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

      2011 RWC Final: QC cut out pass to his Mait who waltzes away with the silverware. The Evil Wizard strikes again! No not this time, it’s Harry Potter and the Hallowed turf of Eden.

    • August 8th 2011 @ 7:21am
      Willy said | August 8th 2011 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      Quade played a magnificent game for the Wallabies at Eden Park on Saturday night! Followed such a structured gameplan, wasn’t afraid to take the ball in to contact, and was brutal on defence.

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