Cronk ready for retirement after NRL Grand Final glory

By Sports Desk October 06, 2019

Cooper Cronk is more than ready for retirement after he helped Sydney Roosters to an unprecedented back-to-back title in the NRL.

The Roosters became the first team to win successive premierships in the NRL era with a tightly contested 14-8 victory over Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium.

James Tedesco crossed late on for the Roosters after the referee Ben Cummins changed his decision from awarding Canberra a fresh set of tackles, instead giving Sydney the handover as Cronk - who was controversially sent to the sin bin early in the second half - went out on a winning note.

Cronk, 35, was overwhelmed with emotion in the aftermath of Sunday's triumph, but insisted he has no doubts about hanging up his boots.

"There was so much emotion around the game this week, but the club did a really good job of keeping it pretty small," Cronk told the Nine Network.

"I don't really know what to say except thank you to everyone involved in rugby league.

"From being a young kid, I've been blessed to be able to watch this game and it's a humbling experience having been able to live out a dream and have some success at the end of it. But I'm ready for retirement - I've had enough!

"I'm the result of some very good individuals at some very good clubs. I've been fortunate enough to play with some guys that changed the way rugby league was played and I just jumped on the back of that and had some fun along the way.

"It's been one hell of a journey, one hell of a ride and I'm just glad it's over!"

Cronk, appearing in his ninth Grand Final, was harshly cautioned when he was adjudged to have tackled Josh Papalii without the ball.

The officials checked for a penalty try, though the video official deemed a penalty - and yellow card for Cronk - was sufficient.

"It's not ideal. I'm not here to criticise the referees but I didn't think it was a sin-binning offence," Cronk said.

"It took heart and soul for this club to defend for that time and then score points. This club cops a lot of criticism but it's got one big heart, a hell of a lot of soul and a lot of good people involved in it."

Match-winner Tedesco echoed Cronk's thoughts, while hailing his retiring team-mate.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling. Everything was against us, Cooper getting sent to the bin in his last game, we were under the pump that whole second half," Tedesco said.

"We've got a winning culture, the boys never give up and we fought for the whole 80. [Cronk] is an unbelievable player, an unbelievable bloke.

"We spoke during the week about how much he has done for every one of us as players. To send him out a winner is an awesome feeling."

Related items

  • Cameron Smith to play on with Storm in 2020 Cameron Smith to play on with Storm in 2020

    NRL great Cameron Smith will play for Melbourne Storm during the 2020 season.

    Smith, 36, became the first player to reach 400 NRL games during 2019, consolidating his position among the greats.

    The former Australia and Queensland star, who is Storm captain, will play on next year, it was confirmed on Thursday.

    "I've had a good break after another pretty big season in 2019. I've had time to relax and put my feet up and I'm feeling pretty fresh now," the hooker said.

    "I'm looking forward to next year.

    "I've been given some 'long service' leave [from training] as I had last year as well so I won't be back until the New Year.

    "That seemed to work really well last year. It gives me plenty of time to freshen up and get ready for another gruelling season.

    "I'm excited to see the squad improve on last year … and seeing the younger guys go to another level again in 2020."

    Smith played 27 games last season and finished as runner-up to Sydney Roosters star James Tedesco for the Dally M Medal.

    Storm finished top of the table before falling to a Preliminary Final loss to eventual premiers the Roosters.

  • Dragons confirm signing of Issac Luke Dragons confirm signing of Issac Luke

    NRL veteran Issac Luke has joined the St George Illawarra Dragons on a one-year deal.

    Luke, 32, will enter his 14th season as he looks to add to his 271 games in the NRL.

    The hooker has previously played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors, while he is also a 43-time New Zealand international.

    "Everyone is already aware of Issac's career in regard to his longevity," Dragons director of rugby league pathways and list management Ian Millward said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "Issac has walked the path of the NRL over a long period of time now and will be great for our squad.

    "To have a really established back-up player of his calibre is exciting. Our coaching staff were keen to have him on our roster with plans in mind regarding how they'd like to play him, which have already been discussed with Issac as well as Cameron [McInnes].

    "With Issac now on board, we have 25 players on our roster [and] 23 of them have played NRL and while that includes those who have just received their first taste of first grade like Jackson Ford and Jason Saab, we are pleased with Issac's injection of experience."

    The Dragons struggled during the 2019 season, winning just eight games to finish 15th.

  • Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scoops 2019 Golden Boot prize Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scoops 2019 Golden Boot prize

    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck became just the fifth New Zealander to win the prestigious men's Golden Boot award on Sunday.

    Tuivasa-Sheck scooped the prize, which is awarded to the best international player of the year, ahead of Tonga prop Siosiua Taukeiaho and New Zealand team-mate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

    The 26-year-old returned from a 12-month international absence to help his country defeat Tonga 34-14 in the Oceania Cup Test and also featured in a 2-0 series triumph over Great Britain.

    He also ran 167 metres and set up his team's only try in the 26-4 defeat to Australia.

    "Putting on the black and white jersey and representing my country is always a privilege and winning this Golden Boot award is a huge honour," said Tuivasa-Sheck.

    "Thank you to the IRL, NZRL and, of course, my family, as without their love and support, none of this would be possible.

    "This year's campaign has been one to remember, and although being away from my family was difficult, this makes it all worth it, this award is for them."

    Australia star Jessica Sergis enhanced her standing as one of the best in the world by taking home the women's Golden Boot.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.