After drawing the curtain on a glittering 16-year NRL career, Cooper Cronk has promised to write his name in the history books one last time.
Having achieved almost every individual and team honour in the game, the champion halfback on Monday announced the 2019 season would be his last.
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But in typical Cronk fashion, he said he wasn’t done yet and had his sights set on going out by lifting the Provan-Summons Trophy on October 6.
Should he successfully guide the Roosters — $2.90 favourites with the bookies — to this year’s title, they’d be the first side to go back-to-back in a united competition since Brisbane in 1992-93.
He’d also become the first player to win three premierships in a row since a host of Parramatta champions, including Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Eric Grothe, Mick Cronin, Ray Price, Steve Edge, Steve Sharp and Steve Ella in 1981-83.
“If I sit here and start to clap myself and say well done, then the slippers go on, you get a bit comfortable and all of a sudden you lose track of what these guys need from me for the next 20-odd weeks,” Cronk said.
He then delivered the following warning to the Roosters’ rivals. “I tell you what, if anyone thought I worked hard for the past 15 years, come watch me train Monday to Friday for the next 20 weeks,” Cronk said.
Not done yet. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
The 35-year-old Cronk will go down as one the game’s greatest halfbacks and as a player who experienced success wherever he went.
After getting his start at Melbourne as a bench utility in 2004, he played in eight grand finals — seven with the Storm and one with the Sydney Roosters — including five premiership wins. However the Storm’s 2007 and 2009 titles were later stripped for salary cap cheating.
His effort to play through the pain of a broken shoulder blade in the Roosters’ 2018 grand final win ensured he will be forever etched into Tri-Colours folklore.
A two-time Dally M medallist, he played 22 State of Origins for Queensland and was instrumental in their recent era of dominance, as well as 38 Tests for Australia, including two World Cup victories.
He has played 357 first-grade matches and earlier this month jumped Darren Lockyer into second on the NRL’s all-time appearance list.
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