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English prop Mike Cooper hasn't been fazed by much since joining the Dragons to play in the NRL. Copyright: Grant Trouville/NRL Photos
Ah, the 'whingeing Pom'. Is there any greater social stereotype?

Think cricket legend Ian Botham threatening to Fed-Ex his mother in law to Pakistan after one too many dodgy curries. Or England rugby league star Leon Pryce on the record as preferring to flaunt his budgie-smugglers in Blackpool rather than at Bondi. Or perhaps any time grand slam tennis champ Andy Murray opens his mouth.

And now wipe the slate clean when it comes to the latest forward from the Old Dart to arrive upon our humble shores.
Put simply, there’s not much that fazes Mike Cooper, the likely lad from Manchester who is three games into his stint with the undefeated St George Illawarra Dragons.

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Whether it’s arriving Down Under to follow in the rather large footsteps of fellow Brits James Graham and the brothers Burgess, adjusting his game to the quicker pace of the NRL or shaping up to a formidable Broncos pack, the former Warrington prop is thoroughly and unfailingly positive. 
Even a classic Australian summer heatwave doesn’t bother this one.

"It didn’t bother me at all actually," says Cooper of the record temperatures that seared across the east coast in mid-January this year - a far cry from the four-degree average temperature of a Manchester winter.

"Everyone asks about sunburn or sunstroke but back home we’re training inside from Christmas until the start of the season ... so to be outside for three to four hours in the sunshine, it’s quite nice really.

"It helps you as a player as well, plenty of time to work on your ball skills and things like that.

"I’m the type of player that enjoys the heat and good conditions rather than miserable cold weather so it suits me, even though I’ve got blonde hair and am as pale as anything."

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Based on his average game output of 31 tackles, 11 hit-ups, two tackle busts and 101 running metres coming off the bench, the pace of the antipodean version of the game also appears to suit the latest English import in the NRL.

"I’m pretty happy with the start," Cooper said.

"It’s been a finding-my-feet period over the first couple of weeks and so far it’s so good.

"It suits me, the quicker game, and it suits us here at the Dragons with the style of play we have, we’re rolling forward pretty comfortably at the moment.

"It hasn’t been too big of a transition at the moment. It’s week-in, week-out at the sort of the level you’d play in finals or semi finals back home."

The 24-year-old, who racked up 139 appearances for Warrington and Castleford before heading for sunnier skies, says tonight's clash with fellow competition surprise packets Brisbane will give the Dragons their biggest challenge to date this season.

"They’re a team that’s extremely dangerous and it’s a real marking point for us to see how we’re going.

"They’ve got a very similar pack to us actually. They’re mobile, they like to throw the ball around a little bit and they’ve got some footwork and there’s some players there that are going to make it a great game to watch."

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