North Queensland back-rower Gavin Cooper has made a career out of being reliable, hard working and dedicated, and although he’s been supremely successful, he’s never been a player to demand the spotlight.
It will be the same this Sunday at Central Coast Stadium when he shares his 300th game milestone with a couple of other handy rugby league players who are playing important games as well.
“It’s a bit of a weird one being on the Central Coast – and on the same weekend Cam Smith becomes the first player to play 400 games and Benji Marshall plays his 300th. Hopefully I’m not forgotten,” Cooper laughs.
Cooper will join the legendary Johnathan Thurston as the only Cowboys to play 300 NRL games when he runs out against the Roosters on Sunday. He’s also played six State of Origins for Queensland and a match for the NRL All Stars in 2017.
But of all the games he’s played, there’s one that stands above all else – the 2015 grand final victory over Brisbane in a pulsating clash at ANZ Stadium.
Although nothing can compare to premiership glory, Cooper has a couple of other unique memories he counts as career highlights.
The first was in the 2015 season, when he scored the fastest hat-trick in NRL history.
Playing at Parramatta Stadium against the Eels, Cooper bagged three tries in the space of six minutes as the Cowboys came from behind to win 36-30. The record is even more astonishing considering Cooper is a forward.
“That is definitely one of my career highlights, to score three tries in no time was amazing and something I won’t forget,” Cooper reflects.
The other unique record Cooper holds is being the first forward to score in nine consecutive games at the back end of last season.
“It was a pretty great record,” he says.
“I just kept scoring. Every week I thought the streak would come to an end but it just kept on going.”
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