‘Happy as’: Quade loving life as $800,000 park footy player
EXILED playmaker Quade Cooper is "happy as" playing club rugby, Reds centre Samu Kerevi says.
And just as well.
Kerevi admitted Cooper's return to the Reds doesn't look like happening anytime soon, after Hamish Stewart shone at No.10 in their shock 27-22 Super Rugby win over the Lions, snapping a four-game losing run.
Cooper is running around for Souths in Brisbane club rugby on his $800,000 annual Reds salary after being told by new Queensland coach Brad Thorn that he was not part of his 2018 plans.
And Kerevi hinted that was where Cooper would remain after 20-year-old Stewart helped Queensland pile on four first-half tries last weekend before holding on for the inspiring win and a 4-5 record.
"Quade is obviously a great player. He brings a different type of pace to the game, but we are still happy with the guys that we have now," Kerevi said.
"And Quade is happy as playing for Souths, but I know he still has aspirations to play Super Rugby and at Test level."
Kerevi said the win over the 2018 South African conference leaders showed the Reds already had all the scoring firepower they required.
"Our tries on the weekend came from our defensive efforts," he said.
"You saw the driving mauls, you saw the forwards pushing the scrum over - I think that's where our tries came from."
Stewart stepped up against the Lions in his run-on debut, pulling off some strong hits in defence and breaking the line to create one of the Reds' first-half tries.
The Toowoomba product was thrust into an injury-hit starting side after regular No.10 Jono Lance was concussed in the previous week's heavy loss to the Chiefs.
"I thought Hamish did an awesome job with Jono being out," Kerevi said.
"He didn't try and push his hand too much and when he did take a run he had a line break.
"And he loves defence. For me it makes life a lot easier when the No.10 can really put some hits on."
Kerevi believes a huge chance awaits Stewart with Lance set to leave Queensland at season's end.
"He's pushing hard for a starting spot," Kerevi said of Stewart.
"Jono is leaving at the end of the season, so there is a spot there, but Hammo (Stewart) knows that. He will keep pushing."