Gavin Cooper's huge milestone inspires Burnett clubmates
COWBOYS veteran Gavin Cooper celebrated his 300th NRL game on the weekend - he has certainly come a long way since his days as a junior with the Murgon Mustangs.
Mustangs club member Scott Prendergast was proud to see Cooper enjoy the spoils of playing his 300th game.
He said Cooper's achievements at the ultimate level of the sport was such a inspiration for current Murgon players to witness.
"He has shown our youth that there are pathways to the NRL,” Prendergast said.
"If you train hard and play hard you can make it to the NRL.
"You can't put a price on that.”
Prendergast said Cooper had given back considerably to the club where his remarkable career began as a four-year-old.
Including, some would say, one of his most prized possessions.
"He donated his 2015 Grand Final-winning jersey,” Prendergast said.
"We raffled it off at a function, which he attended.
"We raised enough money to put our club back in the black, all thanks to him. You can't beat that.”
By playing 300 games, Cooper joins an illustrious league of legends.
He becomes only the 37th player to play 300 NRL competition games.
It was a big weekend of significant milestones in the NRL, as Wests Tigers half Benji Marshall also racked up his 300th game, and Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith became the first NRL player to play 400 games.
Prendergast's memories of Cooper go right back to when he was a teenager and he wouldn't want to stop training.
"He just loved to practise,” he said.
"We'd have to kick him off the field so we could train the kids.
"He just loved it.”
Cooper's North Queensland Cowboys teammates showed their support for his huge achievement the best way they knew how.
By beating last year's premiers, the Sydney Roosters 15-12 in front of 14,668 people at Central Coast Stadium.
Prendergast looked forward to seeing Cooper enjoy another season with the Cowboys in 2020.
"We wish him all the best,” Prendergast said.