Cronk: It's been one hell of a ride
Cooper Cronk said it has been "one hell of a ride" after the Sydney Roosters star announced his retirement from the NRL.
On Monday, Australia great and 35-year-old half-back Cronk revealed his plans to call it quits at season's end after 16 illustrious campaigns.
Cronk – who amassed 22 State of Origin appearances for Queensland – won it all with three NRL premierships, two Dally M Medals, a Rugby League World Golden Boot Award and the Clive Churchill Medal.
Reflecting on his career, veteran Cronk singled out Craig Bellamy, having won two premierships with the Melbourne Storm head coach before joining the Roosters in 2018.
"It's been one hell of a ride," Cronk said during a news conference. "I just really appreciate everything Melbourne Storm has done for me. I moved down there as a kid with just an opportunity.
"There are not too many people I respect more than Craig Bellamy. I think fondly about our mateship. He is a mate first and a coach second. In terms of football the work ethic, the humility, the dedication and just what it takes to make it - he taught me that.
"To the Roosters organisation, I thank you very much. This club has a reputation of maybe living the high life and sipping lattes but there's a lot of heart and a lot of soul."
Cronk spent 14 years in Melbourne, where he helped the Storm to premierships in 2012 and 2017.
He formed a deadly trio with Storm captain Cameron Smith and former star Billy Slater prior to swapping Melbourne for Sydney, which resulted in a Grand Final victory last year.
"Billy and Cameron, I don't think thanks cuts it to be honest. Those two guys will go down in history. That probably makes me the best third wheel ever seen," said Cronk, whose Roosters are in contention to retain their title this season.
"My job was pretty easy. A future Immortal would pass the ball to me and I'd pass it on to another future Immortal. I'll be forever grateful of those two guys."