Sharks not circling for Cronk's signature
The news about Cooper Cronk's decision to leave the Melbourne Storm at season's end had barely broken when the Sharks walked off their Academy Field at Cronulla High School on Tuesday morning.
Stunned by the news that Cronk would be moving to Sydney, five-eighth James Maloney went into panic mode – albeit jokingly – that the star No.7 might take his spot in the team if he decided to ink a deal with the premiers.
"I might be out of a job!" Maloney laughed.
"I'll have to go talk to my manager. I might have to find a club!
"I hope not (we don't sign him) because I don't know where it'd leave me. Hopefully they're pretty happy with me and 'Chaddy' (Chad Townsend). Fingers crossed!"
All jokes aside, Maloney – who played with Cronk at the Storm in 2009 before stints with the Warriors and Roosters – acknowledged how big a coup his signature would be should he decide to play on at a new club beyond 2017.
"I'm sure there will be plenty of options around for him. He's a pretty quality player," he said.
"He runs a very organised set-up. You know he'll control things and you know what you'll get each week.
"I've been in every jersey almost, but he's only been in one so it’s probably a bit different. I think that's the nature of footy and nothing is really guaranteed. I'm guessing he's made the decision for life outside of footy."
Maloney's halves partner Chad Townsend can empathise with Cronk's love-based motives given he left the Warriors at the end of the 2015 season to return to Sydney for family reasons.
"When you're drawn to a certain situation, things do change and you do take other things than football into perspective when making important decisions," Townsend said.
The premiership-winning halfback is off contract at the end of the year but didn't want to be drawn into speculation suggesting Cronk might replace him at the Sharks.
"That's not my decision to make," he said. "I'm not going to comment on that. It's out of my control and I don't know what Cooper Cronk does or what he's going to do so I'm just going to leave it at that.
"My management is handling that at the moment. For me, I think it’s important that I assess all my options and I make the right decision.
"If I can just concentrate on my football and let that take care of itself then I know everything else will sort itself out."