Premiers keep eye on Cronk move
THE focus on Cooper Cronk’s next move will go into overdrive after tonight, regardless of if he leads Queensland to glory, and Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has confirmed he will happily discuss having the superstar playmaker in the Shire if he plays on.
And for the first time, Flanagan has conceded if Cronk did end up at the Sharks, it would be tough to stand in the way of James Maloney pursuing a big- money deal at a rival club.
The only way the premiers would be able to seriously entertain Cronk should he extend his NRL career – the smart money remains on him retiring – would be to release his NSW rival Maloney from the final year of his deal.
“I do talk to Cooper’s manager ( George Mimis) once a week, but Cooper is Cooper, he won’t make a decision until after Origin, and your guess is as good as mine if he’ll play on or not,’’ Flanagan said.
“There was no way Cooper was going to go back on his word and make a decision before Wednesday night.
“If he was to play on, we’ll see how we go.
“We have Jimmy who is comfortable at the moment, but if clubs are offering him big money, $ 1 million to go elsewhere, it will be hard to keep him.”
Already declaring he wants to be in Sydney closer to his Fox Sports presenter partner Tara Rushton, Cronk’s Sydney options appear limited this late in the season.
Maloney has another year to run, but is holding out for more money, and has reportedly had several rivals, including Newcastle and South Sydney, prepared to grant him that wish.