Cooper Cronk confirms he will play on with a Sydney club in season 2018http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/teams/roosters/cooper-cronk-confirms-he-will-play-on-with-a-sydney-club-in-season-2018/news-story/b1863696dd8d78996b001c0ff3c9bce7
LET’S not beat around the bush on this.
Cooper Cronk has confirmed he wants to play next year and beyond, and the Sydney Roosters would love to have him.
So unless another NRL club finds a way to trump powerful Roosters chairman Nick Politis, who almost always gets his man, this deal will happen.
But almost as significant is what it could mean for Mitchell Pearce, Jake Friend or Luke Keary.
That was the immediate reaction from around the NRL after The Saturday Telegraph broke the news online that the champion 33-year-old playmaker had ended months of speculation and told his agent George Mimis of his intentions.
“Since the grand final Cooper has been reflecting on his possibilities,” Mimis said. “Today he has advised me that his inclination will be to continue to play should the right opportunity present itself. So I will now embark on having some relevant conversations and see where they take us.”
Mimis was adamant no deal had been done. It is understood Cronk is looking for a two-year contract while he builds on his work with Fox Sports.
Cronk has been linked with a move to the Roosters.
Despite what some clubs have said publicly, Cronulla, South Sydney, Parramatta and Newcastle have all expressed interest since Cronk announced he would move north to live with his fiancee, Fox Sports presenter, Tara Rushton.
It would be foolish to rule out any club at this stage but the Roosters will start the race in pole position.
No one from the Roosters has denied continued speculation, in a clear message of their intentions.
While Politis has been in Greece, the Roosters have indicated they have salary cap room to keep all their stars if they can offload a mid-range player worth about $400,000. The Roosters are trying to hand Jayden Nikorima, reportedly on $370,000, to the Broncos.
There is no question the Roosters want to keep Pearce even if Cronk signs but that would depend how he handled no longer playing halfback. Pearce could easily adapt to five-eighth or hooker; it is a matter of inclination.
Cronk and Pearce have played their careers as State of Origin rivals and it would be a cruel blow if Pearce was forced to hand over his No. 7 jumper to the Queensland playmaker.
Pearce also has the respect and love of his teammates and that would play on his mind if either Friend or Keary were forced to leave.
Cooper Cronk is looking for a two-year deal.
The fact is you can’t fit Cronk, Pearce, Friend and Keary into the starting team.
There is no doubt all three could take their pick of several clubs if the Cronk deal becomes a reality and they want out.
Another factor is that Pearce signed a two-year extension this year while both Friend and Keary are off contract at the end of 2018, which would make them prime targets for rivals.
What is almost certain is that Cronk’s pending decision will spark another round of musical chairs in the coming weeks.
Mimis said Cronk would not be rushed into making a decision.
“He is cut from a completely different cloth and he is not going to be dictated to by me, Gus (Gould), Nick (Politis), anyone,” Mimis said.
“He is his own man.
“He needed to be clear in his mind that he wanted to continue the journey.
“For me, the first precursor was his post grand final interview with Joey Johns. Joey said something like, ‘you’d be mad to give it away, you have so much footy left in you’.
“And Cooper said something like ‘you play for these big moments’. It kind of struck a chord in my mind.
“But today he has formally advised me that is where his head is so we will go and explore.”
Melbourne Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy paid tribute to Cronk.
“He has been such a great servant of our footy club, we wish him all the best for his next endeavour,” Donaghy said.
“He will always be a Melbourne Storm player and the door will always be open for him.”
"Since light travels faster than sound, people appear bright until you hear them speak" Anon