Melbourne Storm star Cooper Cronk doesn’t just have the ball on a string, it seems the off-contract halfback has some of the NRL’s best playmakers at his mercy, too, as he looks to secure a contract for next year and beyond.
Like every half-decent player that comes off contract, Cronk has been linked to the Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Cronulla Sharks since the middle of last year but, if his manager Chris Orr’s response to Cronk’s preferred destination next year is any indication of the star’s intentions, then the 28-year-old remains a free agent.
”I haven’t spoken to anyone as of yet. Not Cooper – he’s been on holidays overseas – not the Storm and no one else at this stage,” Orr said. ”He wants to get fit, play some football and then he’ll start thinking about it.”
But rumours emanating south of the border suggest the Storm are resigned to losing their chief playmaker. The Brisbane Broncos certainly think so, having stalled extension talks with Peter Wallace on the premise they are in contention to lure Cronk back to Queensland. They re-signed Jharal Yow Yeh, Alex Glenn, Dave Hala, Andrew McCullough and Ben Hunt last week but word out of the Broncos camp is they are reserving some big dollars to make a play for Cronk.
Luke Walsh, Braith Anasta, Daniel Mortimer and Ray Thompson are just some of the other playmakers off contract in 2012 who could be at the mercy of Cronk, while Scott Prince will need a blinder of a season on the Gold Coast to retain the starting No.7 jumper beyond this year, after a horror 2011.