MATT Cooper is backing singer Ricki-Lee Coulter to win this month's Dancing With The Stars title.
The former NRL player was eliminated from the ballroom dancing show last night despite scoring two perfect 10's from the judges for his Foxtrot routine.
Coulter, Home and Away's Tai Hara and Lynne McGranger and former AFL player David Rodan are the final four celebrities vying for the title.
"I think Ricki Lee's going to win it. She's been up the top pretty much the whole time," Cooper told APN.
"She's training a lot more than what everyone else is. I think she's just really committed and she's a natural performer."
Cooper, who was forced to retire from the St George Illawarra Dragons last year because of injury, credits his footy background for helping him to cope with injuries on the dance floor.
Olympic snowboarder Torah Bright and TV presenter Kyly Clarke were both forced to pull out of the show this season because of injuries.
"I actually hurt my back this week. I've got a few bulging discs in my back from old footy injuries," he said.
"I'm used to playing with injuries and coping with that sort of stuff so it didn't bother me; it's normal to me.
"Everyone on the show's got some sort of injury… it's been pretty demanding.
"I'm just glad I'm used to that type of training, otherwise I might have pulled out with an injury weeks ago."
The father-of-two said he didn't mind getting a bit of attention for his chiselled abs after a revealing costume left judge Kym Johnson a little hot under the collar.
"I thought I was going on the show because they actually thought I could dance," he laughed.
"No I'm only joking. The first week I went into the wardrobe department and they had a nice shirt for me and I was looking forward to wearing it. But all of a sudden the costume guy pulled out these big scissors and cut the arms off and pulled the buttons off. I was like 'Okay I know what I'm in for now'. It was all right; it was cool.
"I could have been getting attention for something worse."
Yes, like Mark Holden's bizarre clown routine and war of words with the judges.
"Obviously on TV it came across really weird, but I really like the guy," Cooper said.
"He was a different man backstage. We got on pretty well but once that red light went on he got into character and he just couldn't get out of character. It was like he was possessed.
"I'm sure he'll tone it down (for the finale) but maybe he might bring the clown back, it would be pretty funny."
Dancing With The Stars airs Tuesdays at 7.30pm on Channel 7.
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