Cooper to chirp up 10,000 tweets
HE’S already granted Quade Cooper an on-field licence to thrill and now Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie says he won’t place the shackles on the Reds playmaker’s unusual pre-game tweeting either.
Proving he’s not only a step ahead on a Super Rugby pitch, Cooper is on track to become the first Australian sports star to rack up 10,000 messages on the social networking phenomenon that is Twitter.
Incredibly, Cooper tweeted his 20,071 followers just six minutes before kick-off last Friday night before producing a man-of-the match display in Queensland’s record-breaking 53-3 rout of the Melbourne Rebels.
“Green boots split back to the red.. Here we go!!!!,” Cooper tweeted in reference to a promise he made to Queensland’s Warra State School that he’d wear green footwear during the match.
That alert was just one of more than 30 tweets from Cooper on game day, a tad more than his daily average of 23.
Having on Tuesday tallied 9949 tweets since he opened his account on January 14 2010, Cooper is so prolific that he’s left Shane Warne for dust and seemingly has everyone else in Australian sport covered too.
A keen tweeter himself, (with 6550 posts) McKenzie has no qualms with Cooper’s social networking antics as long as the reigning Australian Super Rugby player of the year keeps delivering on the field.
“With your preparation, you can argue that there’s right and wrong ways to go about it,” McKenzie said.
“But I judge their game performances by what happens on the field. How they prepare or where their mind is. Everyone’s different.
“Some people have music jammed in their ears. I don’t think there’s any one way for people to perform.
“You can’t pretend to be in this current generation and do things differently, so I don’t stress about it.”
Cooper’s tweet about his boots stemmed from a long road trip he made to Queensland’s flood-affected region that McKenzie said the Wallabies ace should be applauded for.
“It’s only a very small school and he just went out there off his own bat a couple of Sundays back and just played touch footy with the kids and had a chat to them,” McKenzie said.
“He does those sort of things and he’s very good with kids. I don’t know what sort of commitment he made in that space, but he’s proactive and fairly community-minded.
“It was probably a six or seven-hour commitment by the time he drove back and there’s every reason not to go.
“People always tell you about the negative things but we get a lot of positive feedback about the work that Quade does – and others. He’s just one example.
“They don’t look for any fanfare. I just happened to spot it on Twitter actually when the teacher thanked him for putting himself out like that on a Sunday.
“Being community-minded, they’re the sort of attributes you want in your squad. They’re not entirely focused on their own lot.
“So the fact that Quade Twitters is one thing...I’m more interested in the fact that he’s community-minded and conscious of his obligations.”
At his current rate, Cooper will post his 10,000th tweet this week but, to be fair, many of his offerings are replies to the general public.
And he’s not the only incessant tweeter by any stretch.
The new-age networking has exploded around the world and loads of other Australian sports personalities are also hooked.
Basketball superstar Andrew Bogut, for example, is not far behind Cooper, having also made more than 9000 tweets.
But while McKenzie has no problem with it, other sporting officials aren’t quite sold on Twitter, with Australia’s athletes banned from tweeting at last year’s Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Indeed, thoughtless tweeting can get users in serious strife – as Cooper’s girlfriend, triple Olympic swimming champion Stephanie Rice, learned after posting a famously inappropriate offering after the Wallabies beat the Springboks last year.