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ARU must fight for Cooper, says Dwyer
Laine Clark and Steve Jancetic
18:16 AEST Wed Nov 21 2012

Many rugby fans would like to wash their hands of controversial playmaker Quade Cooper, according to Bob Dwyer.

But the World Cup-winning ex-Wallabies coach hoped the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) did not throw Cooper "out with the dishwater" as the Queensland Reds scrambled to retain their prized five-eighth.

Cooper will reportedly hold a press conference on Monday to announce he is leaving Australian rugby after being offered a downgraded, incentive-based contract by the ARU.

That has not stopped Reds boss Rod McCall planning talks with ARU chairman Michael Hawker who will return from London on Thursday.

"All I can do is ask for them to reconsider it (the ARU contract offer)," McCall told AAP.

Dwyer said offering Cooper a rookie-level contract after fining him for describing the Wallabies as "a toxic environment" was a bad look for the ARU.

"There is a perception that he has been punished twice for one crime which is not right," he told AAP.

Dwyer conceded Cooper polarised fans but hoped the ARU would fight to retain a player "with qualities that rarely come around".

"There are a lot of rugby fans that are so disappointed with what Quade said that they would think he is better off going," he said.

"I didn't like what he did either.

"But I would like us to do all we can to help him not do it again, not throw him out with the dishwater."

Dwyer - whose record of 67 Tests as Wallabies coach was surpassed by Robbie Deans recently - said Cooper should prove a point to the ARU rather than walk away.

"I would be thinking `I will prove to these blokes I am worth much more than that'," he said.

"You don't want him to go. But the game is bigger than any one player - we will get over it."

Cooper was reportedly outraged by the ARU's contract offer which was supposed to top up a three-year Reds deal he signed off on in June.

Ex-Wallabies hooker Brendan Cannon said Cooper's scenario highlighted the frailties of the ARU's revamped contract regime.

ARU top-up offers are made after players negotiate a deal with a province but in the past it was the reverse.

"There's got to be a trigger point that once you sign with the state you've got a seven-day or 14-day pause to reach an ultimate conclusion with the ARU," Cannon told Fox Sports TV.

"This situation is a reflection of how much it (current system) doesn't work."

McCall said it would be an "overwhelming feeling" if Cooper left.

"You can cope with it at the end of July because you have time to rectify the situation - if you have a hole in your list at the end of November you are usually in a bit of trouble," he said.

Cooper has been linked with rugby league but time appears to have run out for the 2013 NRL season.

The Dragons are one of the few clubs able to accommodate Cooper under the salary cap but CEO Peter Doust dismissed the notion, even if the NRL came to the party.

"I don't see the NRL being in a position to do that sort of thing," he told AAP.

"I wouldn't think it's in the interests of all 16 clubs for that to be the case.

"It's just not something that's on my horizon."

Cooper is most likely to dabble in boxing before a lucrative French rugby stint next year.