By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper believes that having the opportunity to be part of the England Lions’ Four Nations tournament squad will benefit his game in 2015.
Cooper, 26, who is in the midst of his second-week of pre-season training, has noted the turnaround in the players enthusiasm under Head Coach Paul McGregor.
The prop, who signed with the Dragons at the start of last season from the Warrington Wolves, is additionally excited at the prospect of possibly lining up against his former club during next months World Club Series.
The Dragons will open the inaugural World Club Series with a match against the Warrington Wolves at Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Friday, February 20.
“Even when I wasn’t here, the feedback from the players that were here was that they really enjoyed (training),” said Cooper.
“Everyone is really happy with Mary here.
“He’s a great coach and a great leader.
“When he talks, people listen, and he is the man to take us forward.
“It was a fairly young side last year.
“We needed a bit of experience, and already (the new signings) have made a big impact in terms of talk on the field.
“Any experience you can get, especially from players that won the competition can only add value to us.
“I go into this year confident of the players and the staff, and also with it being my second year and having more experience, hopefully I can lift my game as well.
“There were some great players in the English Four Nations squad I learnt under and I plan to take that with me into this year.
“If I am over in Warrington for the World Club Series, I suppose I’ll be a bit of a tour guide, showing everyone around.
“Warrington will be up for it as there is a lot of atmosphere at Halliwell Jones Stadium.
“The crowd over there are a little bit different as they tend to make a little bit more noise.”