Like many in Tamworth, James Cooper grew up playing touch football. The 32-year-old spent his childhood summers running around the playing fields and representing his home town through the age groups in representative competition. So, naturally, he was as disappointed as anybody when the game's popularity waned in town. And when the Tamworth Touch Association began its resurgence several years ago, Cooper was eager to jump back into the fray. "When I moved away, I sort of stopped [playing]," Cooper said. "Over the last few years, I've got back involved with it. I've played the last two State Cups and the Country Championships, I've really enjoyed it." Although he said "the body struggles a little bit more" these days, it certainly looks as though Cooper hasn't lost a step. The North Tamworth Bears forward, who recently re-signed with the club for 2024, starred for the Tamworth Titans' senior mixed at last weekend's State Cup. He was named the male Players' Player for the side while Sofie Casson took out the female award, though Cooper was quick to downplay his accolade. "I don't know if that was more good luck or good management," he said. "The team's performance overall was most pleasing. I was involved in good moments in games, and I certainly got to see good moments from others as well." All three of the Titans' teams - mixed opens, mixed seniors, and mixed masters - made the semi-finals of their respective divisions. It was a far cry from their 2022 results, where Cooper said they got "touched up", and the result left the players ecstatic. "There's a really good core group across all three teams," he said. "Everyone was competitive, our 30s drew with both teams that made the finals. Newcastle won it, but we had a 5-5 draw with them in the round games, and we'd never been within arm's reach of them in any other competition ... so to get that close and genuinely compete was really good." The representative assignment in Port Macquarie kick-started a busy week of touch football for Cooper. On Wednesday night, his C Grade team, The Family, won their local grand final 6-5 in a thriller over Dog Wash. And, on Friday, he will don his Captain America jersey in a bid to win the first men's Super Series title. Since the final round games were washed out a fortnight ago, they will be played as a lead-in to the finals tomorrow night. "It's been something new and different," Cooper said. "The [Marvel super heroes] model that these teams are named after, in a shortened competition ... it's been plenty of fun. These sorts of things that sporting organisations put on are often well-received. "We get to wrap it up with a good night on Friday." While Cooper's competitiveness reigns supreme in rugby league, he appreciates that touch footy allows him to relax and play socially. That said, he can never truly shake the desire to win. "[In the local competition] I've got some nieces and nephews in the team, and that's just about their development and enjoying some time with them," Cooper said. "But obviously when you go away to a State Cup, you play to win. And the more competitive you are, the more fun it is."