Cooper open to move from Cowboys
RUGBY LEAGUE: Cowboys forward Gavin Cooper says he is prepared to leave North Queensland as his playing future remains up in the air.
Cooper is one of several stars at the 2015 premiership club, including Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and Jason Taumalolo, yet to secure his future beyond the end of the season with clubs still uncertain of the salary cap for 2018.
"I'm off contract but something will happen in due time, whether I'm at the Cowboys in the future or somewhere else,” Cooper said.
"Contracts are contracts and it's a funny old game rugby league. I've moved before and it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to again.
"We were just lucky the year after we won it, we kept the whole team together. Hopefully, we can do something special again this year.”
The highly respected backrower, who will feature for the World All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars in Newcastle on Friday night, claims salary cap uncertainty is playing on the minds of players but is confident the NRL will step in before the threat of a players' strike gains traction.
The Cowboys have lost exciting teenage talent Kayln Ponga to the Newcastle Knights for 2018 while Scott has also been heavily linked to a possible move to the NRL wooden spooners.
While keen to stay in North Queensland, Cooper says it has become a waiting game.
"I'm not sure anyone really knows what is going on with the salary cap and what the figure will be for next year,” he said.
"It's creating plenty of uncertainty and I think everyone would like that sorted sooner rather than later.
"There are a couple of clubs that have done a lot of deals up until now. Penrith's an example. I'm not sure what salary cap number they are working off to sign 20 odd players into next year but it seems some clubs are willing to either take a gamble or they have good information about where it is headed.
"The Cowboys is one of the clubs that hasn't done many and it's been very much a waiting game for a few different reasons and that's definitely playing on a lot of boys' minds.”
Despite the frustration, Cooper is confident the players won't have to bring the issue to a head.
"I really don't think the NRL will let it get to that,” Cooper said.
"But the longer it drags on, the more frustrating it becomes.
"There is a lot of talk about the game being really successful and all this money being about but you only hear about it from the other side of things. We never hear about it from the players' point of view so we'll just wait and see.”