Slater, Cronk face tough decisions amid NRL premiership euphoria
Veteran NRL stars Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk both have difficult decisions to make after helping Melbourne Storm to Grand Final glory at the expense of North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.
The injured Slater watched from the sidelines 12 months ago as Cronk and his team-mates suffered a 14-12 upset to Cronulla Sharks in the season decider.
But they were both on the field at ANZ Stadium this weekend to orchestrate a comprehensive 34-6 triumph over the 2015 premiers.
A foundation of Storm's dominant dynasty under head coach Craig Bellamy, 34-year-old full-back Slater has fully recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out last term, underlined by the fact he claimed the Clive Churchill Medal as man of the match on Sunday.
Now out of contract, he must decide if he wants to play on in 2018.
Asked for his thoughts on the prospect of prolonging his illustrious career, Slater told Channel Nine: "I really don't know yet. My body's feeling really good.
"I always said it was physical. I love playing this game. I'll make a decision soon. I'm feeling really good and I'm just going to enjoy this.
"I honestly didn't know whether my body would let me [get] back here. It was tough to sit through last year, the boys going so close and being helpless. I wasn't going to let that happen today."
Half-back Cronk has already confirmed his intention to leave Storm, but, rather than hanging up his boots, he could seek to play on for a team in Sydney, where the 33-year-old's fiancee lives.
"I'll celebrate this, wake up with a hangover and then I'll have a think about it," he said of his next move.
"It's really hard to give up moments like this. You work extremely hard for it, the satisfaction - there's no words to describe it. This is my last time in a purple jersey. I'll hang it up somewhere and hang it up with pride. I've got some thinking to do, don't I?"
Cronk added: "I don't know what I would be if it wasn't for Melbourne Storm. I've got nothing but gratitude and thanks for everyone that's played a part.
"To be stood here on the final day of the NRL calendar, it's really hard to put into words what the feeling is."