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17 hours ago
St George Illawarra centre Matt Cooper will hold talks with incoming coach Wayne Bennett over the next few days as he weighs up several big money bids to prize him away from the joint-venture club.
Off contract at the end of the season, Cooper said his preference was to remain in the red and the white and admitted discussions about his role at the club under Bennett from 2009 would play a large part in his decision making process.
"I'm going to have to have a chat to him before I make any decision - it's something I'm going to have to do in the next few days." Cooper said.
"Hopefully it works out and I get to stay, I'd love to stay, I'm comfortable here.
"I'm building a house here and it's going to be hard to leave a brand new house, but in saying that who knows what's going to happen."
Bennett is believed to have told club officials that keeping Cooper, who he has worked with before at Test level, was a priority.
But while keen to remain at the only club he has ever played for, Cooper dismissed reports claiming he would not join any other club in the NRL.
That puts the cashed up Bulldogs well in the hunt to snare his signature, and he is just the type of signing chief executive Todd Greenberg will be after as he looks to appease fans disenchanted by the continual drain of representative talent from the club.
Scouts from Super League clubs were believed to have been in the crowd at WIN Stadium on Saturday night as Cooper's Dragons continued their dismal start to the season with a 20-16 loss to North Queensland.
"I'm open to all offers at the moment, I'll just see what's out there and make a decision," Cooper said.
"It's probably going to be my last big contract. It hasn't been playing on my mind, I actually thought it would but it's been pretty good," Cooper said.
"I suppose with Browny's situation (coach Nathan Brown's sacking from the club) it got pushed back a bit, now I'd just like to get it sorted as soon as I can.
"My manager will get back to me in the next few days and I'm sure he'll have a couple of offers there and hopefully it gets sorted in the next couple of weeks."
Cooper's future may not be the only thing decided over the next fortnight with his Dragons side needing to get their season back on track before it's too late.
Unfortunately for Brown's men it's been a case of groundhog day following their round two win over Gold Coast, the Dragons getting close before coming undone under the weight of a mountain of mistakes three weeks in a row.
"We have to win (against the Bulldogs next week), it's going to have to be a big game," Cooper said.
"We don't want to be 1-5 and then we've got the Roosters and the draw only gets harder after that.
"It's frustrating, I wish I knew what the problem was - each week we seem to be losing by a few points and each week we say we're close, we're close, but we're just not getting the money."