Cronk stays while Hindmarsh retires
Cooper Cronk ended speculation about his future by re-signing with the Melbourne Storm for another four years. While some questioned why he needed a press conference to announce he was staying put, just think about how much media exposure it achieved over the last week. The exposure for the Storm brand and their sponsors was great for rugby league in Melbourne. On a day where that other code was looking to make a big impact, I think the ability to steal some of the limelight for rugby league is not a bad thing.
The decision is all done and dusted and we can return to talking about the footy without being hijacked by constant contract speculation. In the end, I’m glad Cronk stayed with Melbourne. Watching the Storm at full flight is something special. The way they dismantled the Roosters last week was one of the best displays of rugby league I’ve seen in a long time. Fans can expect the Storm to feature in a lot more highlight reels in the coming years.
Well done to Nathan Hindmarsh who announced he will be retiring at the end of the season.
After more than 300 NRL games, 23 Test matches, 17 State of Origin appearances and over 11,000 tackles the only accolade missing from his stellar career is that elusive premiership.
Hindmarsh’s standing in the game is highlighted by his winning of the Provan-Summons People’s Choice Award a record-equalling five times. There is no doubt he will be missed on the field, but we can expect to see a lot more of him around the game. While he might be hanging up the boots, there is no question he will continue to make a massive contribution to rugby league in the years to come.
Membership numbers released today by the NRL reveal the game is closing in on a record 200,000 members.
Currently we have 198,887 members, which represents a 14% increase from 2011. Nine of the 16 clubs have already surpassed their 2011 final numbers.
With the NRL and the clubs celebrating Heritage Round this week, NRL.com has unearthed colour footage from the 1952 Grand Final between Western Suburbs Magpies and South Sydney Rabbitohs. Take a step back through time and check out this vintage footage of the Magpies' last premiership.
State of Origin is still seven weeks away, but already the speculation and build-up has begun. On Wednesday, NSW Captain Paul Gallen called on selectors to pick Cronulla teammate Todd Carney in the Blues five-eighth position.
The Following day NRL.com expert Greg Alexander was calling on the same men to pick Warriors half James Maloney. To read Alexander’s column click here.
Ticket sales for the series have started strongly for game two at ANZ Stadium and you can secure your seat at rugby league’s showpiece event by clicking here.
Luke Lewis celebrates 200 NRL games for the Panthers on Saturday night when his side clashes with the Sharks at Centrebet Stadium. To celebrate the milestone the Panthers are offering kids' General Admission tickets for 200 cents ($2).
Wests Tigers have come up with a special ticket offer for former grade players for the round five Men of League Heritage Round match.
Past grade players from the NSWRL, ARL, Super League and NRL eras will be able to purchase $10 tickets to the match against South Sydney at 3pm on Sunday, April 1 at Allianz Stadium.