Matt Cooper
Keen to see out two-year deal

Veteran centre Matt Cooper has scoffed at suggestions he will retire at season’s end to make way for new club signings, declaring that he plans to see out the remainder of a two-year contract.

Rumours surfaced at the weekend that Cooper may call it a day early in a move which would allow St George Illawarra Dragons to swoop on Manly Sea Eagles flyer Brett Stewart, who will also be off contract at the end of the year.

It is understood the Dragons’ salary cap – despite the departures of Mark Gasnier and Darius Boyd last year, and Beau Scott at the end of this season – would struggle to accommodate a $500,000-a-year player like Stewart unless another big name left.

Cooper addressed the issue head-on yesterday, playing down suggestions he was having second thoughts about next season.

‘‘Not at all, I was enjoying my football last year, so that’s why I signed for two years,’’ he said.

‘‘This year obviously hasn’t been as good, but I’m still keen to make it work. To be honest, I haven’t even heard those rumours – that’s the first I’ve heard of it.

‘‘I signed a two-year deal last year and I’m really keen to see that out.’’

Dragons chief executive Peter Doust declined to speak about Stewart, but it’s believed the Illawarra junior is poised to re-sign with Manly.

Read more at the Illawarra Mercury