Quade Cooper has signed with the Queensland Rugby Union for the next three years, but his future as a Wallaby is between a rock and a hard place.
Yesterday the ARU tribunal fined Cooper $60,000 with $20,000 suspended for bringing the game into disrepute with his “toxic environment within the Wallabies” comment, and hit him with a three-match suspension from Super Rugby or Tests, all three suspended.
But the severity of the fine, the heaviest in history, puts the ARU in a very difficult position when it comes to topping up the QRU contract.
One section of the ARU drops a bucket on Cooper, and another section has to decide if Cooper is worthy of an ARU contract. A rock and a hard place alright.
Without the extra ARU income, Cooper has no immediate future in rugby and could well head overseas, or switch to league.
The latter would be a disaster, even though Cooper has often said he’d like to play at the Roosters with his mate Sonny Bill Williams.
But even that contract has a question mark against it following SBW’s surgery on a chest muscle and zero commitment from Williams himself.
That’s the trouble with Quade Cooper, he doesn’t really know what he wants. He’s a loose cannon who can fire off at any time as he proved with the “toxic” quote, which doubled up as being anti-Robbie Deans.
Not a shrewd move.
I sincerely hope the dust will settle, and the ARU comes to the party to top up Cooper’s QRU contract.
But first, Cooper has to placate the ARU, Robbie Deans, and many of his Wallaby team-mates who have enough of his antics.
Then the toughest job of all: firing for the Reds to win back his berth in the Wallaby squad with Kurtley Beale and Pat McCabe both playing well in the only two positions Cooper could possibly fill – fly-half and inside centre.
It’s entirely up to Quade Cooper.
He has a mountain to climb.