But recalled to the team after new head coach Ewen McKenzie took charge, he was sure to show the Welsh Lions stars what they had avoided Down Under with a five-star performance at the Millennium Stadium.
The 25-year-old's skilful offload put in Christian Leali'ifano for Australia's first try before further scores from Israel Folau and Joe Tomane gave them a 30-26 win.
Cooper was sent to the bin late on for holding back Scott Williams, but despite the yellow card, Mowen was quick to pinpoint their main man's influence.
"I thought Quade was outstanding in his 50th game, but in saying that the guys either side of him really helped," said Mowen.
"That nine-ten-12 channel really directed the way we wanted, but there were also a couple of moments of individual skill.
"Not many people can execute that in touch-footy in the back-yard, let alone at the Millennium Stadium in those sort of circumstances.
"You can't say enough about what sort of bloke Quade is and what contribution he's made.
"He has turned into an outstanding leader, and when he is performing, generally the team is performing very well. That shows a lot about the respect he carries in the group."
The win made it five years unbeaten for Australia against Wales, who scored two tries through British & Irish Lions star George North.
And after losing the series over the summer, Mowen believes their final Autumn international win over Wales shows Australia are heading in the right direction.
"We played so well in attack at periods in that game, but a side like the Welsh are always going to come back and have points in them," he added.
"But I thought the resilience we had in the game, and to close that game out was outstanding. It just says a lot about the resilience of the group.
"We've obviously had a lot of ups and downs this year, but from where we were to where we are has been a really important step.
"Upon reflection, there will be happiness in the way we are going. We firmly believe we can get to the point we need to come the (2015) World Cup."