HAVING been both a teammate and a rival, Mike Cooper knows Mose Masoe well.

As a fully paid-up member of the fabled “front rowers union,” he is especially keen to ensure the 31-year-old is supported after his career-ending injury.

The rugby league family has united in support of Masoe since he suffered a serious spinal injury playing in a pre-season friendly for Hull KR in January 2020, but he has defied the odds to get back on his feet again.

This weekend marks “Mose Masoe Round” in Super League, with virtual tickets being sold for the behind-closed-doors games at the Totally Wicked Stadium to support the Samoan international and his family.

“He was a big menace to play against but a gentle giant off the field,” Cooper said.

“He’s shown his true colours in his recovery. You don’t see any complaining from him.

“That’s what we need to talk more about. When you hit obstacles in your life, you get on with it and that’s what he’s done.”

The pair were set to play together in the NRL when after a successful stint at St Helens, Masoe was picked up by St George Illawarra Dragons for the 2016 NRL season.

Cooper was preparing for a third and final season in the Red Vee, but a pre-season knee injury meant Masoe never took the field.

A year later, both found themselves in England again – Cooper back in his hometown with Warrington Wolves while the New Zealander joined Hull KR.

“I was in a team with Mose at St George and I got to know him really well. He’s a big lovable character who played the game really hard.

“If anyone needs any inspiration around how to get over adversity, you only have to look at how Mose and his family have hit this head on.

“It’s a sign of how rugby league players are. We’ve seen this so much with the likes of Mose and Rob Burrow, how everyone gets behind them to support them and raise funds.

“There are some real diamonds in our game and both those fellas epitomise that.

“Hopefully, everyone can buy virtual tickets and get as much money for his family as well as publicity, which I know he won’t want as he’s a humble guy but sometimes we all need a bit of help.”

Proceeds from virtual ticket sales will go to the Mose Masoe Foundation, which aims to help his family and other players who have suffered similar injuries.

UK-based fans can choose to donate £5, £10, £15 or £20 by texting 5MOSE, 10MOSE, 15MOSE or 20MOSE to 70085.

Those wishing to donate from outside the UK can do so via mosemasoefoundation.co.uk