In a recent podcast interview with Will Greenwood and Rupert Cox, Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper shed some light on his experiences after having returned to the Queensland Reds in 2017.
Cooper played twelve of the fifteen Super Rugby games that season, scoring 74 points. However, things took a turn when he was dropped ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby campaign after head coach Brad Thorn apparently cut up rough with Cooper.
“He [Thorn] said I would be the fifth-choice fly-half, and having been able to look back and see, I feel that they were trying to push me into a corner and play on my ego...you know, try and belittle me,” Cooper said.
“I mean, I played seventy tests for Australia...and to say that there was a young player at the Reds at that time that was a better player and four other club players that were better players than me, like, mate, I can see straight through that.”
“If he and the club had spoken to me as a man, with respect, and basically said: ‘Look, we’re rebuilding, you’re paid a lot of money, and the next closest person wouldn’t even be on half the money that you’re on...we need some of that money to rebuild properly...’ Now, I love that club, and I think that’s a different type of conversation instead of coming in with the angle of trying to belittle someone. So I just felt that the way they went about it just wasn’t the right way to go about it, so that’s the reason I just stayed and played football.”
Thus, Cooper spent most of 2018 playing for his club Souths, and also captained the Queensland Premier Rugby side to the semi-finals.
In 2019, Cooper joined the ranks of the Melbourne Rebels as they finished second in the Australian conference.