Quade Cooper of the Rebels after sustaining concussion.
Quade Cooper of the Rebels after sustaining concussion.

What Cooper concussion means as Wallaby’s return looms

Melbourne's Mr Fixit Reece Hodge's next job could be at five-eighth with Quade Cooper in doubt for the Rebels' Super Rugby match against the Bulls on Friday night.

Cooper was momentarily knocked out when he copped an accidental knee to the head when trying to tackle Queensland skipper Samu Kerevi at AAMI Park during a 30-24 win which solidified their lead of the Australian conference.

The 31-year-old was able to walk off but didn't return for the final 30 minutes of Friday's match as the Rebels held off a gutsy effort by the young Reds.

Until that match Cooper had played in all but one minute of Melbourne's season, with the Rebels relying heavily on him orchestrating their attack.

"We've been very lucky with the fact that Quade has been so fit for so long," Melbourne coach Dave Wessels said.

"The medical staff say he is fine, he has a concussion and will go on the concussion pathway."

With no obvious reserve five-eighth in the squad they are likely to call on Hodge, who has already filled in at fullback plus inside and outside centre this season.

He wore No.10 for the Rebels at times last year, while he was the starting five-eighth for the Wallabies in their Test win over Japan in Yokohama in 2017.

 

Reece Hodge of the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Reece Hodge of the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

Billy Meakes, who successfully shifted in from inside centre when Cooper left the field, is another option for the AAMI Park match.

Melbourne were hopeful of having Wallaby Matt Toomua on deck however his playing commitments with Leicester Tigers means he won't arrive until after the Bulls continue their tour.

The Rebels are optimistic Toomua will be available for their round 15 clash with the Sunwolves in Tokyo but concede he's more likely to make his debut a week later against the Waratahs.

 

Matt Toomua of Australia kicks a penalty.
Matt Toomua of Australia kicks a penalty.

"Matt Toomua makes a big difference for us, and that probably takes a bit of pressure off Quade in having to play every single minute," Wessels said.

"But to be honest, I wouldn't like to be the guy that has the discussion not to play Quade.

"He's so invested in things at the moment and enjoying his rugby that I think he wants to be out there."

Cooper will be given until Wednesday to prove his recovery but even if he passes the testing he may be sidelined to ensure he's 100 per cent with the finals looming.

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