When Mike Cooper entered the field of play at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, England were behind the eight ball in their Rugby League World Cup semi-final clash with Samoa.
The Wigan Warriors prop, who made the mid-season move to the DW Stadium from Warrington Wolves, helped turn things around for England though it was a case of clawing things back and letting them slip and clawing things back.
Ultimately, England came up short in Golden Point which left Cooper devastated: “Shattered as you imagine, completely devastated. There’s lots of emotions. It’s hard.”
He felt on the balance of the tournament that England deserved more but mistakes let them down: “Yeah definitely, I think we deserved a lot more. I thought we sloppy at the start. We clawed it back and let it slip, clawed it back again. You can’t question the bravery and the spirit of the players.
“Two mistakes at the end of the game, it was the story of the game.
We were a fraction away from making history. Credit to Samoa, they got the win.”
It was said by Warrington halfback George Williams that the fact it would likely be some players last tournament made the feeling worse, and Cooper admitted that he expects his England future to be “taken out” of his hands.
He said: “I’m 34 now mate, that question will be taken out of my hands. It’s been a long year, we’re all emotionally drained.”