Leaders watch as former golden boy rages
Frustrated ... Quade Cooper. Photo: Getty Images
IF QUADE COOPER'S intention was to stir the thick and soupy rugby pot during delicate contract negotiations he well and truly hit his mark.
The injured Wallabies five-eighth's calls have been received with wide-eyed intrigue by the rugby community, members of which are waiting for the frustrated talent to fire the next missive in his as-yet one-sided war with the most powerful figures in Australian rugby.
Whether or not his comments about the ''toxic'' state of the sport are motivated by a desire to get the upper hand in negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union is unclear.
The ARU and the Wallabies are keeping quiet in the face of their former golden boy's sustained attacks while, beyond the briefest of ''not happy'' comments from Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael, Queensland have also shut up shop.
But the world, or at least the ever-dwindling pool of Australian rugby fans, coaches, players and officials, is watching. And a surprising number of them are on Cooper's side.
''I'm a big advocate of Quade's, and I think he's integral to the Wallabies going forward,'' former Reds coach Phil Mooney said. ''Clearly he's frustrated, so I think it gives people an opportunity to investigate it further within the Wallabies and the ARU. The way he aired those feelings isn't the way I would have done it, but that's the way of the world now.''
Mooney, like many others, has read with interest the coverage of Cooper's deteriorating relationship with the organisation that nurtured, championed and profited from his talents over the past four years.
Mooney said Cooper had broken with accepted protocol in ''pretty much all team sport'' but was too good a player to let go.
''Quade is one of those people that polarises opinion; you're either very much in his camp or very much out of his camp,'' he said.
''I'm someone who's very much in his camp. When the Reds won the Super Rugby title he was at the forefront of that, and I certainly believe as far as the Wallabies are concerned, that he's integral to them moving forward. He's the best 10 in the country, and you build a team around blokes like that.''
The storm also caught the eye of Wallabies legend David Campese and Brumbies assistant coach Laurie Fisher. Both joined enthralled rugby fans to mention the saga on Twitter, Campese congratulating Cooper, while Fisher said: ''I don't know whether he's brave or foolish but he's stating an opinion, and some will agree and some will disagree. There are interesting times ahead.''