Canberra hoodoo fails to bother Cooper

Mike Cooper says he is unfazed at the thought of playing the Raiders in Canberra. The Englishman has never played in the national capital. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Mike Cooper says he is unfazed at the thought of playing the Raiders in Canberra. The Englishman has never played in the national capital. Picture: ROBERT PEET

RUGBY LEAGUE - DRAGONS

Dragons forward Mike Cooper is yet to play a game in Canberra but he already learnt a thing or two about hoodoos in his 122-game English Super League career.

Cooper debuted for the Warrington Wolves in 2006 amid a losing streak to traditional Super League heavyweights St Helens at their former home ground of Knowsley Road.

Warrington's last win over St Helens at the ground was in January 1994 and stretched 22 games and 15 years until 2010.

It remains unbroken since the Saints' move to Langtree Park.

The Wolves also endured a 27-game losing streak (with two draws) to Saints at all venues from 2001-10 before a breakthrough victory over their northern rivals in February 2011.

Cooper admits streaks that extend into the hoodoo vicinity weigh on players' minds, but with a host of fresh personnel he doesn't expect it to have an impact on the Dragons this week.

"I was part of it back home. We had a run with St Helens at their old ground, we couldn't beat them for over 10 years. It was in the back of your mind going into the game," he said.

"There's a lot of new players here [Dragons] now, so I don't think it'll be an issue.

"Not one player's mentioned it to me. All we've just talked about where we went wrong [last week] and what we need to put right this week.

"I've not played at Canberra before so it doesn't affect me at all. We've obviously got a couple of other new faces that won't be affected at all either.

"We've just got to play well. If we play to our full potential where we were a few weeks ago, I'm very confident we'll get the job done."

Of more concern to Cooper were the two easy tries the Panthers scored from close range on Sunday.

After derided as 'soft' upfront earlier in the year, the Dragons' mid-season rejuvenation was built on not letting teams through the middle but the Panthers' James Segeyaro exposed them twice on Sunday; he scored from dummy-half in the first half then put Adam Docker over untouched

"We're pretty disappointed. It was an important game for us and in general our performance across the board wasn't where it's been the last few weeks," Cooper said.

"We've talked about it again; we'll try and not concede through the middle. We've put it to bed now; we've got to move forward."

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