Pearce And I Can Co-Exist: Cronk
Cooper Cronk believes there's no reason why he and current Roosters halves Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary can't work together next year.
The worst-kept secret in rugby league was finally put to bed on Monday when the Roosters announced they had signed Cronk for two seasons, but instead of focusing on what the Australia and Queensland halfback would bring to the club, most of the talk has been on what the move would mean for Pearce.
The 28-year-old has been the Roosters' chief playmaker since 2007 and helped steer them to premiership success in 2013, but some see Cronk's arrival as a step back for Pearce who would most likely have to move to the bench to accommodate the representative No.7.
And while the general consensus is that Cronk has been brought to Bondi Junction to help take Pearce to the next level, that's not how the former Storm halfback sees it.
"We haven't had those specific conversations about how it looks like, we just spoke about a style of play, some trends around the game and things like that," Cronk told NRL360 about his early discussions with Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
"But I will say this: one of the exciting things and the lures to play at the Roosters was to play alongside Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary.
"Both those kids have an arsenal of weapons to dominate in the halves and for me to come along and play with them and help them a little bit, they're definitely going to teach me something as well.
"I don't see my game being the end product; I think I can improve and get better and there's some traits that Mitchell has that I think I can learn off and there's some traits that I have that they might be able to learn off as well.
"As long as we've got a selfless team-first mindset, a thirst to want to work hard and roll the sleeves up and get the job done, I'm sure that all players can fit in the system and the style of play and that's probably the tough decision for the coach to make.
"As long as we've got that selfless team-first approach, the Roosters of 2018 is better with the three players that you mentioned."
Cronk revealed he had spoken with Pearce on Monday about the situation, and the two-time Dally M winner believes there are good times ahead for his new club if everyone buys into the revamped roster which includes new star fullback, James Tedesco.
"I had a chat to Mitchell earlier today – I won't go into specifics or anything like that – but it wasn't about me convincing or preaching or anything like that," he said.
"Mitchell's been front and centre at the Roosters for a long time and as I said he's got an arsenal of weapons to play in the halves that I think he can dominate. And there's a few things I think I can help him with and there's a lot of things I think he can help me with, so there's going to be a lot of things that we can do together.
"That's my preferred option – that everyone stays and buys into the Roosters culture – which I'm going to have to dive into and understand as quickly as possible.
"From my point of view, as long as everyone's got the ability to work hard, be selfless, and when it comes down to the crunch put the team first, then I'm sure that no matter what system or players Trent chooses on a Saturday night or a Friday night, whatever time slot we play, I'm sure the best team will be out on the paddock."
Cronk admitted he was leaning towards retiring after 14 successful seasons with the Melbourne Storm that culminated with a grand final win over the Cowboys, but after a few chats with former players, realised that he still had plenty to offer.
"From the timeline of the announcement I'd be leaving Melbourne, I honestly thought retirement was going to be the choice. I got to the finals and I really had that drive and really enjoyed that excitement and pressure of finals football," he said.
"Then I considered playing on, and then the week after the Grand Final it was about celebrating and after that I met with my agent (George Mimis) and looked at what my options were.
"The Roosters have been successful over a long period of time under Trent Robinson, I've admired them from afar and the few little conversations we had, it ticked a lot of the right boxes.
"It's one hell of a challenge that I'm super excited about and really looking forward to.
"Seeing myself playing with a different jersey next year's going to be difficult… everyone can play football when everything goes their way but it's when adversity hits that you really find out your true colours and I'm really looking forward to that."
This article first appeared on NRL.com