Cooper ordered to attend counselling
December 18, 2009
Quade Cooper is set for counselling © Getty Images
Quade Cooper will attend a counselling programme before being considered for selection by Queensland Reds or Australia. The 21-year-old utility back has been involved in a series of disciplinary problems this season, culminating with his arrest on burglary charges following an incident on the Gold Coast in December.
Cooper faces a committal hearing next July on the charges and before he is allowed to resume a promising Super 14 and Test career he must complete the custom-made counselling programme, which has been devised by the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU), Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA).
His progress will be reviewed in February, while he is currently expected back in training with the Reds in mid-January pending any further decisions on his playing future. The issue will be referred to a disciplinary tribunal formed by QRU under the ARU Code of Conduct, however, the matter will not be considered until Cooper has gone before the courts.
"The court process needs to take its course and Quade is entitled to the presumption of innocence," said ARU high performance general manager David Nucifora. "What we are talking about here in terms of personal development and counselling relates to the fact that Quade has had a number of off-field issues during the past year.
"The QRU and ARU agreed that collectively we need to impose on Quade an action plan that he must now adhere to as part of his ongoing employment, and Quade has agreed to make that commitment. We will not be going into the specifics of the programme that has been put in place, but it is extensive."
QRU chief executive Jim Carmichael welcomed Cooper's commitment to complete the programme.
"Quade is a young man who has faced the cold reality that some off-field facets of his life could jeopardise his future unless he changes them," Carmichael said. "Because he has accepted that responsibility and has committed to making the necessary change, we will help and support him in that - provided he continues to demonstrate that his commitment is genuine and ongoing. We all want to see Quade make the right choices in his life and this long-term programme of support and guidance is designed to help him do that."