Dragons great Matt Cooper reveals why he didn’t attend the 2010 premiership reunion – as he opens up old wounds and reignites bitter feud with the club
- Former Dragons center Matt Cooper did not attend the 2010 Grand Final reunion
- The 43-year-old issued an apology, saying he didn’t want to cause trouble
- Cooper was reportedly promised a club job by former chief executive Peter Doust
St.George Dragons legend Matt Cooper walked out on the club’s grand final reunion in 2010, saying he would have caused trouble with a former chief executive and unnamed teammate – and hinted on Twitter that he would reveal all about his nasty retirement next year .
Cooper, 43, was a key center in the team’s premiership season in 2010, playing all 13 years of his career with the Red V club.
Matt Cooper of the Dragons celebrates winning the 2010 NRL Grand Final with a club support staff member
Playing alongside young guns Brett Morris and Darius Boyd, the 13-game Blue enjoyed great success at the Illawarra club.
Yet, 12 years on from a milestone year, Cooper opted to stay away from reunion celebrations to avoid causing trouble with former CEO Peter Doust and a mysterious team member.
“I would like to apologize to my 2010 premiership team for not attending the 10-12 year reunion. The reason I didn’t attend was because I didn’t want to make a scene and ruin a special occasion! Knowing that the former CEO and a player who didn’t even play in the game were going to be there, Cooper wrote Twitter.
One follower replied ‘would be a good opportunity to be the bigger man and ignore said people.’
Cooper responded, writing “not if you knew what Doust did to me”.
Former St George boss Peter Doust (L) and coach Wayne Bennett (C) during a press conference where Bennett announced his decision to leave in 2011
Doust stepped down from his managerial position in 2018 after 18 years at the club while Cooper retired at the end of the 2013 season struggling with a painkiller addiction as he fell out of the game.
The Australian center played 243 games with St George and was emotional at his press conference with Doust by his side.
“He has been a significant role model and in particular a living example of our local junior development programs and an inspiration to rugby league players in our region,” Doust said at the time.
Matt Cooper waits for the ball from a Jeremy Smith offload during the 2010 NRL Grand Final
During his career, Cooper and Doust were apparently good friends and had a strong working relationship, which led to the CEO becoming the longest-serving club manager in NRL history.
Doust reportedly promised the center a job with the Dragons after retirement, but backed out of the deal shortly after.
Back in October during the Dragons’ season finale, Cooper took a swipe at the club’s poor culture.
‘I can’t believe 3 players went to the #redv awards night!!! Actually I can! The club has no loyalty and honor anymore. It all stopped when Wayne Bennett left, he tweeted.
In reference to the unprotected player Cooper tweeted about, it’s up for speculation.
Dragons fans raise aloft an ‘Oust Doust’ sign during the 2015 NRL season as the club began to collapse in form and leadership
Former Dragons boss Peter Doust was eventually kicked out of the club – and it’s clear that there is some resentment between him and Cooper
Former Dragons center Kyle Stanley was part of the 2010 list but did not play in the grand final.
He now has a role in St. George’s junior pathways system alongside his brother Chase.
Cooper appeared on Channel Seven’s Big Brother VIP following his previous stints on Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice.
The former winger is working towards an MMA career and is good friends with UFC No.1 pound-for-pound fighter Alex Volkanovski.