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Mike Cooper describes the feeling of taking boyhood club Warrington Wolves to their first Grand Final
MIKE Cooper is struggling to keep his feet on the ground ahead of Warrington Wolves’ Grand Final debut at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Warrington forward, a product of Wolves’ youth system and a junior player at the club since signing from Latchford Albion as a teenager, keeps having to pinch himself to ensure that the dream of taking his boyhood club to the Grand Final is actually a reality.
“It is all a bit surreal at the moment, it is like I’m living in a dream world,” said the young forward.
“I went down on to the Old Trafford pitch a moment ago (Monday) and it is a bit special to think I could be out there.
“I am trying to take it all in as it comes, otherwise it will fly past me and before I know it, it will have come and gone.
“It is pretty special in the town, the buzz around the place is special already and I know it will get better.”
Cooper produced one of the best performances of his career against Saints in the play-off semi-final at Langtree Park, putting his name forward for Saturday’s final with a hard-running display that is likely to give coach Tony Smith one of his famous ‘selection headaches’ when picking his pack and interchange forwards.
As a supporter of the club all his life and a professional player since 2005, Cooper has endured Wolves’ difficult times with the rest of the fans, an experience that means the club’s recent success has not been taken for granted.
Smith is often hailed as the protagonist of Wolves’ meteoric rise to success, but Cooper believes that the road to the top started out much earlier than 2009.
“This has been building at the club for some time,” said Cooper.
“The plans that were put in by my uncle Paul Cullen, by Jimmy Lowes, the work and money Simon Moran has put in, the business development by Andy Gatcliffe, it has all been building towards us reaching finals and achieving something special.
“The momentum has been building since then and we are the lucky ones who are now competing for trophies after all that hard work and development.
“It has been a lot of time and a lot of effort for this town and its team to get where it is now. We have to try and enjoy it while we can.”