Pre­miers keep eye on Cronk move

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - CHRIS­TIAN NICOLUSSI

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.

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