Mitchell Pearce has contacted Cooper Cronk to assure him there would be no lingering tension between the Australian halfback and his new teammates when he arrives at the Sydney Roosters.
NRL.com understands Pearce, who is expected to announce his future by the end of the week, called Cronk last week after learning the former Melbourne Storm halfback was uneasy about the impact Pearce’s departure would have on his relationship with the Roosters’ playing group.
Pearce was at the Tricolours for over a decade and remains very close to many senior players. Many of them were emotional when finding out the NSW playmaker had asked for – and been granted – a release.
Despite feeling like he had been squeezed out of his only NRL club because of Cronk’s decision to sign with the Roosters, Pearce appears to hold no bitterness towards the premiership-winning Queenslander.
In further evidence of Pearce’s maturity in dealing with what has been a difficult ordeal, the 28-year-old also met interested clubs without the assistance of a manager.
It is understood Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Cronulla Sharks and Newcastle Knights are the final contenders despite expressions of interest from at least three other NRL clubs.
Most clubs have been back training for almost a month and Pearce is keen to begin pre-season preparations with his new teammates, which is why a decision is expected to be made this week.
Pearce has to decide whether he wants to join a developing team like the Knights, who are likely to offer the most lucrative contract of the three biding clubs, or link with one of two 2018 title contenders.
The Sharks are arguably closer to a premiership next year than their northern beaches rivals, however Pearce lives closer to Manly and also has a strong relationship with Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett from their time together playing for NSW.
Pearce is understood to be concerned about the NRL salary cap investigation into Manly and is monitoring the situation closely.