General Sidelined Koopu weighs up early release

maple leaf_old

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Link: https://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/eveningstandard/4576750a6650.html

Wairangi Koopu one of Mt Smart Stadium's favourite sons has admitted he may seek an early release from the Warriors if he is offered a Super League deal within the next few months.


Koopu the club's player of the year in 2004 and 158-game veteran has revealed he is struggling with his demotion to the Auckland Vulcans.

Normally one of the first players picked in the starting line-up, Koopu has only made five appearances for the Warriors in 2008, including a stint in the centres against the Rabbitohs on Friday night.

It's no secret he is seeking a Super League deal for the 2009 season but, although it's not something he wants to do, Koopu may look to leave Auckland earlier than expected in a bid to save his career.

"Leaving early is definitely something that's in the back of my mind," said Koopu.

"If I want to prolong my career, it's something I have to keep as an option.

"I really don't want it to resort to that because my heart is with this club and I love the boys and the fans.

"If I can, I want to play out my contract to the end of the year at least."

Although his future is still up in the air, Koopu says his first goal is to battle his way back into the Warriors first-grade side on a consistent basis.

"Whether I will return to the first-grade side fulltime this year is completely up to the coaching staff," he said.

"I know I have to work hard to get my spot back in the second row and at the moment our forwards are playing pretty well. It's been very tough. Playing for the Vulcans is certainly a lot different to playing for the Warriors.

"Most of the boys are really just part-timers and they have a lot of commitments outside league they have to focus on as well.

"It's definitely a humbling experience to go back and play grassroots rugby league."

Considered surplus to requirements in the second row this year, Koopu says the demotion was a blow.

"My confidence definitely took a massive knock earlier in the year," he said.

"Playing for a reserve grade side is certainly a new experience for me. What I'm going through is something most players have to deal with at some stage in their careers. It's just a hurdle I have to overcome."

Koopu has been linked to Super League club Castleford but says he's yet to put pen to paper on any deal.

"I haven't agreed to anything yet and my manager is working for me right now to find a side," he said.

"If it does happen, I will leave for the Super League at the end of the year and it should be a good change for me.

"Castleford haven't officially put an offer on the table and I guess I probably need to resurrect my Warriors playing career if I want a good deal."

Koopu also denied he is unhappy at the club he's played for since 1999.

"Of course I'm happy at the club," he said. "A couple of weeks ago I was 18th man and driving into Mt Smart Stadium with the boys and seeing all the fans with their Warriors flags, it made me realise how much I love being part of this club."
 

Skinny_Ravs82

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Guess one culd say it was bound to happen one way or another. Would be a shame but sometimes in the longer term for his own sakes it can be for the better. Though whatever he chooses to do, stay or go. Wish him all the best
 

garyhobson_old

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He should have been gone ages ago, I dont know why Ivan keeps selecting him. If Wairangi has this attitude he should have done everyone a favour and left before the season started. Hes obviously not up to NRL standard anymore. It's just been a waste of time and a pointless exercise. We could have invested in someone else.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

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I think you're getting things mixed up because Koopu hasn't been playing much, and ot because he's being selected ;)
 

JustinKings_old

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Good ridance. Koopu will do himself and the club a favour by going to UK Super League. It'll save a good chunk of money for the Warriors to buy a better player and a chance for Koopu to earn some big bucks over in the UKSL. It's win-win for both parties.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

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I'll agree with that.

He's done good from day one, but sometimes you just know when it's your hay-day
 

garyhobson_old

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I'll agree with that.

He's done good from day one, but sometimes you just know when it's your hay-day

Yeah he can look back at his career at the Warriors and be proud of what he achieved. Now he can go to the UK SL and earn some massive bucks. I hope a UK SL club does pick him up, I'd like to see that for his sake and the Warriors. Time to move on.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

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To be honest, I still wonder why we brought him back? Some one said a while ago how his best years were behind him. But he had experiences and that is what we were banking on?!
 

garyhobson_old

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To be honest, I still wonder why we brought him back? Some one said a while ago how his best years were behind him. But he had experiences and that is what we were banking on?!

Experience means absoutley nothing if your just not up to it anymore.