Cooper sends message to selectors with double salvo

Matt Cooper stakes his claim for a New South Wales State of Origin recall by helping St George Illawarra back to the top of the NRL.

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Matt Cooper, the St George Illawarra centre, staked his claim for a New South Wales State of Origin recall, with a superb individual display to lift the Dragons back to the top of the NRL table with a 32-18 win over North Queensland yesterday. Cooper, who lost his place in the State of Origin team to Michael Jennings, was brilliant in attack and defence as the Dragons terrorised the Cowboys' right-side defence, finishing with two tries including the match-clincher eight minutes from time after Brett Morris broke free from his own 10-metre line.

Cronulla's flagging season is back on track after they recorded a third-straight win, 24-22 over Canberra at Canberra Stadium yesterday. The Sharks scored five tries to the Raiders' four. Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese and his Cronulla counterpart Trent Barrett both had solid games ahead of NSW selection for the second game against Queensland on June 24. The Raiders back-rower Tom Learoyd-Lahrs also strengthened his representative chances by opening the home side's account with a try in the sixth minute.

Meanwhile, Richie Myler, the 19-year-old Salford scrum-half, picked up a deserved man-of-the-match award thanks to his 30-point haul - a record against Les Tricolores - that included a hat-trick of tries and nine conversions as England thumped France 66-12 in Paris on Saturday night. "Although Myler will catch the headlines for the tries he scored, there were terrific passages of play by a lot of players," said the coach Tony Smith. "He does deserve a lot of the attention he is going to receive.

"But it was the combinations that helped him along and he will admit that. "I couldn't have asked for too much more. There were some terrific combinations across the field." * With agencies