Former Ipswich Jet Gavin Cooper acknowledges the crowd after playing his last home game for the Cowboys. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Former Ipswich Jet Gavin Cooper acknowledges the crowd after playing his last home game for the Cowboys. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

A cold beer with . . . retiring Cowboys great and his ‘tail’

By Michael Nunn

GAVIN Cooper came from Murgon to the Dolphins and Cowboys a young player with a rat's tail. He stayed and played 247 games for North Queensland and six Origins for Queensland and made stops at Penrith and the Coast along the way.

This week he announced his retirement after the Cowboys game against the Broncos with 323 NRL games, content that he has every bit out of his body and mind as an NRL player.

I ran a line on the edge with Gavin Cooper and talked about all of it.

You came from Murgon and to the Dolphins, playing in their colts' premiership side in 2003 great memories?

I turned 18 at the Dolphins. I played some games in the Under 18's and then Colts, and it was a great team and a great year.

My brother Dustin was at the Dolphins and he had a word to them and suggested I might be worth a run.

You played Queensland under 19 in 2004, with Jet Donald Malone and Sam Tagataese in the side but lost 33-6.

Yeah that was a good side. We had Donald Malone, Matt Scott, Sam Thaiday and Neville Costigan. We did not play very well on the night though. Berrick Barnes scored our only try that night. I remember Todd Carney and Brett Stewart were in the Blues side and were too good.

Eight games for the Jets in 2007-2008 under Kevvie Walters, scoring seven tries and one goal - can you remember the one goal?

I always kicked goals coming through, not sure why I was kicking that day but I had a great time at the Jets. It was casual and it was great to play with mates like Ian Lacey and Donald Malone who was best man at my wedding.

When Jonathan Thurston retired, everyone wore headgear. Do you think for this last game against the Broncos everyone will have a rat's tail?

No, I think the rat's tail is done with. I cannot bring it back and definitely not this week.

Which is the better combination - Menzies and Lyons or Cooper and Thurston?

My dad was a massive Manly fan so he would definitely say Menzies and Lyons. They were a great combination. I will leave that up to other people to judge but I enjoyed playing with JT very much.

Gavin Cooper: FOG # 185 - six games, four points, 70 runs, 221 tackles, 449 minutes, 516 run metres, one line break.

 

Gavin Cooper thanks the crowd after his final Cowboys home game. Picture: Matt Taylor
Gavin Cooper thanks the crowd after his final Cowboys home game. Picture: Matt Taylor