Warrington Wolves forward Mike Cooper is set to swap Super League for the NRL after agreeing a contract with St George Illawarra.
The 24-year-old prop will leave the Halliwell Jones Stadium 12 months before the end of his contract after reaching an agreement with the club, enabling the former Castleford loanee to join up with the Dragons from 2014.
"It's something I've wanted to do since the age of 16. Being a Warrington lad, I'm very proud to have been a part of what the club has achieved over the last couple seasons with the recent success in the Challenge Cup and in reaching the Grand Final,” said Cooper, according to Eurosport.
"The next step for me is to test myself in Australia and gain some experience. I'm fully aware it's going to be big learning curve for me. I'll be back at square one again really but it's something that really excites me."
Cooper, whose brother recently joined Swinton after a spell Down Under with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, is the latest Englishman to make the move to the NRL from the Super League.
Lee Mossop and Gareth Hock are both set to join the Parramatta Eels at the end of the season, whilst James Graham and the four Burgess brothers already ply their trade in Australia.
Wolves captain Adrian Morley also spent six years on the other side of the world between 2000 and 2006, and coach Tony Smith believes the move for Cooper could benefit all parties long-term.
"Mike has expressed that he has no wish to play for any other English or Super League club. However, he does have a desire to go and test his wares in the NRL and he's been fortunate to be given that opportunity by St George Illawarra,” said the former Leeds chief, who spent the majority of his career playing in Australia.
“We are happy to assist him in developing himself as a player and we hope this opportunity will be of benefit to both Mike and this club at some stage in the future."
As part of the deal, Cooper will return to Warrington on a two-year contract when his time in Australia comes to an end. And, he will hope to go out on a high in Super League, with the Wolves currently third in the table.
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