St George Illawarra Dragons legend Matt Cooper joined The Rush Hour with Gus, Jude & Wendell for their Grand Final Legends special podcast.
The merger club hadn’t won a premiership up until 2010, yet it had been a long, painful 31 years for the St George faithful to see their club at the summit again.
The years leading up to that point the Dragons had faltered late in the post-season, failing to make a grand final throughout the 2000s, yet consistently having chances to get the job done.
None more so then the year prior, where the Saints had secured the minor-premiership, yet were eliminated in straight sets come finals.
Matt Cooper opens up on the emotional toll of dealing with the infamous “Chokers” tag that had fallen upon the Dragons.
He also details the relief of finally winning a ring with his long-time friends.
“Players that I’ve played with for so long,” explained Cooper.
“Dean Young, Ben Hornby, Ben Creagh, Mark Gasnier, all these guys that had been in the system for a long time.
“Gaz debuted the same year I did.
“Benny Hornby, the next year.
“I think Dean Young debuted in 2003, Ben Creagh 2004.
“These guys who had been in games where we should’ve won.
“Being called chokers.”
A famous photo that is saved in the memories and hearts of Dragons fans is of Dean Young hugging and shedding tears with his father Craig.
Young Snr, at the time was the last Dragons captain to lift the trophy back in 1979.
“I remember seeing Dean and his dad hugging and crying.
“I remember a photo of me, Ben Hornby and Dean Young hugging each other.
“It was so emotional.
“It’s so hard to win a grand final.”
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