QUADE COOPER still wants to play for the Wallabies, but if the ARU don't reverse their decision to effectively offer him match payments only, Sonny Bill Williams is prepared to take a pay cut to accommodate him at Sydney Roosters.
Williams made the extraordinary offer at a press conference to announce he was fighting Francois Botha for the WBA International heavyweight belt, and later told Fairfax Media he had already mentioned the idea to Roosters teammates.
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Sonny Bill would pay Cooper to play league
Sonny Bill Williams says he would give Quade Cooper "half my pay packet" to lure him to rugby league as the pair announces a fight night in Brisbane on February 8.
However, Cooper said his first preference would be to reach agreement with the ARU on a contract that would enable him to honour a three-year deal he signed with the Queensland Reds and continue playing for Wallabies.
Cooper left no doubt at the press conference of his passion for the Reds, but unless he accepts an incentive-based ARU contract that guarantees him half of his current $600,000 per season deal he cannot play Super Rugby next season.
''I have already got an agreement signed and sealed with the Queensland Reds and that is something I would love to honour but at the moment the powers that be are not allowing that,'' Cooper said.
Asked about the possibility of only committing to his $400,000 deal with the Reds if the ARU did not improve their offer, Cooper told Fairfax: ''That would be an ideal world I guess, but I've still got a major desire to represent the Wallabies.
''To represent your country and test yourself against the best is something I love doing and something I would never ever close the door on but if we can't come to an agreement that can't happen.''
Despite the stand-off with the ARU, which Cooper's manager Khoder Nasser described as a ''major breakdown in communication'', the 24-year-old attended Reds training before the press conference on Monday at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Cooper's supporters within the game believe the situation would change dramatically if Wallabies coach Robbie Deans were sacked and replaced by Reds coach Ewen McKenzie, with whom he has a good relationshiph.
However, Cooper indicated he was already considering other options and a stint in France's Top 14 rugby union competition is a genuine possibility.
''I don't like dealing with things that I have no control over but at the moment it is totally out of my hands, so I have had to make sure I have got things ready to go in case things don't come to fruition,'' he said. ''The boxing has opened a massive door and I have great respect and thank Sonny for allowing me the opportunity.''
Williams, whose $750,000 payout to the Bulldogs when he walked out on a contract in 2008 was covered by friend Anthony Mundine, said he was prepared to extend similar generosity to Cooper if he was able to join the Roosters next season.
''I have been one of his big supporters even before we joined up as a team and I have no doubt that he has got that ability to succeed in the 13-man game,'' Williams said. ''I would probably go as far as to say that I, myself, would give him half my pay packet to lure him across, and they're not just words. I would really do that because I think he would be great not just for the game but great for our club as well.''
Speaking to Fairfax, Williams said: ''I have said it to a couple of players at the Roosters,. I don't know if they thought I was serious or not, but that is just how it is with our team. If one of us can help the other, we are prepared to do that.''
Cooper grew up playing league in New Zealand with Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall and he said the possibility of boxing, having a stint in the NRL and playing rugby union in France or Japan all in the one season appealed to him.
''That is very much a possibility and that has never been done before, so that would be a major achievement,'' he said.
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said Williams's proposal had not been discussed by club management.
''Quade is a good player but it is not something we have considered and at this stage we have got our positions filled,'' Canavan said.