LUKE Cooper would have happily swapped a century of appearances for Featherstone Rovers for a victory against York City Knights but the forward left Bootham Crescent with both on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old made his Rovers debut in May 2015, in a 37-34 Challenge Cup defeat at Catalans Dragons.
That was also Cooper’s professional debut and he admits he “couldn’t be prouder” to reach 100 appearances for Featherstone.
“I thought the the boys really showed up, the only points they got were kicks,” he said as Ryan Carr’s side set up a Preliminary Final against Toulouse with a 30-4 victory in York.
“Outstanding defence and I couldn’t be prouder.
“I couldn’t play with a better bunch of blokes. Before the game I would’ve given that 100th game away just for this win.
“But I am so humbled and I couldn’t do it at a better club.”
Cooper praised fellow forward James Harrison after the former Batley Bulldogs player scored a decisive try early in the second half.
“Walts (Josh Walters) got busted early on but the boys dug in deep and Iro (James Harrison) came on at second row and he pushed himself to the limit.
“He scored a fantastic try and he was just unbelievable in defence and attack.”
The contest was nip and tuck at the interval and Cooper revealed how an inspirational half-time team talk spurred the visitors on.
“We just spoke about how we had 40 minutes to keep this dream alive. We had a bit of confidence. It was tight at Leigh at the same time and the boys dug in,” he added.
“And like I said, they didn’t score, so that is fantastic and we felt that we owed York one.”
After making his debut in the Perpignan four years ago, Cooper will hope to create more special memories in his 101st Rovers game in a city 127 miles up the road on Sunday night.