Cronk hungry to go out an NRL winner
Before drawing a curtain on a spectacular 16-year NRL career, Cooper Cronk wants one more premiership.
Having achieved almost every individual and team honour in the game, the champion halfback on Monday announced that the 2019 season would be his last.
Part of a golden generation with the Storm, Queensland and Australia sides, Cronk will be remembered as one of the game's true champions and most prolific winners.
After debuting with Melbourne in 2004 he went on to play in eight grand finals - seven with the Storm and one with the Sydney Roosters. He logged five premiership wins, though the Storm's 2007 and 2009 titles were later stripped for salary cap cheating.
Cronk wrote himself into Roosters folklore when he played through the pain of a broken shoulder blade during last year's grand final.
He has played 357 first-grade matches and sits second on the NRL's all-time appearances list.
He owns two Dally M Medals and has logged 22 State of Origins appearances and 38 Tests for Australia.
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 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 also has a chance to become the first player to appear in nine grand finals since Souths and Roosters champion Ron Coote obtained that mark back in 1975.
As well, he'd 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 and Ray Price, 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.
"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 went to great lengths to thank the Storm, in particular coach Craig Bellamy and former teammates Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, to whom he credited his success.
For years, the Smith to Cronk to Slater inside-ball trick play bamboozled opposition sides, and he said he wouldn't have a legacy without them.
"The real big three at Melbourne Storm; it's probably Craig Bellamy, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith," Cronk said.
"To Billy and Cameron, I don't think 'thanks' cuts it. Those two guys will go down in history as the two best players in their positions. That makes me the best third wheel the game has ever seen."
© AAP 2019