Warrington sign Mike Cooper from St George Illawarra Dragons

Warrington have confirmed the signing of England international Mike Cooper on a three-year-deal.

Cooper left the Wolves to pursue a career in the NRL ahead of the 2014 season and has made over 50 appearances for the Dragons in the last two-and-a-half years. Cooper played a key part in England’s Test series victory over New Zealand last year.

The 27-year-old, who made his Wolves debut in 2006, was an ever-present in Steve McNamara’s squad that overcame New Zealand in Autumn’s Test series triumph, earning plaudits for his exceptional defensive work.

Cooper joins an already srong front-row, which includeds Warrington captain Chris Hill and Ashton Sims, along with the likes of Mitchell Dodds, Ryan Bailey and Jordan Cox.

“It’s great news and a great signing for the club,” said Tony Smith.

“It’s probably something that we hoped for a few years ago, that Mike would eventually return to our club, but it’s probably a little sooner than we thought considering how well he’s done. It’s a real shot in the arm for the club and we really look forward to taking on a player who seems like a veteran here in his early years, at such a young age.

“It’s testimony to Mike that he wants to come back home and play for his home-town club. He is a very proud Warrington boy and we are more than happy to embrace him and look forward to working with him again. I enjoyed my time working with him and he has come on as a player a whole lot since then as well so I think his addition will really strengthen our club.”

Cooper added: “One of my big aims is still to win Grand Finals with the club I supported as a kid.

“I’ve been in the NRL for three years now and have played at the highest level in our game but now it’s time to come home. I have gained a lot of experience over here, playing against State of Origin players week in, week out. I’ve not missed many games either. I feel I have grown as a player and as a person, and have had a fantastic experience over here. It will be sad to leave the Dragons as they have looked after me first-class since I arrived. I have even got some of the fans wearing Warrington shirts and singing Warrington chants but it’s now time come home to be with family.”