IN DEMAND: Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk. Picture: Getty Images NEWCASTLE Knights will do “everything withinthe club’s power”to sign Cooper Cronk if the Melbourne star decides to continue playing in the NRL next season.
Cronkdropped a bombshell last month when he revealed he will quit the Storm at the end of 2017 to be closer to Sydney-based fiancee Tara Rushton.
The Queensland and Australian star is weighing up retirement and a career in the media after recently penning a deal with Fox Sports.
Chief executive Matt Gidley confirmed that the Knights had “very recent talks” with Cronk’s management and were formulating a proposal to present to the superstar playmaker.
“Are we interested in Cooper Cronk?Absolutely.” Gidley said. “Everyone is aware that he is looking to relocate and move closer to Sydney next year. We will certainly have a conversation with Cooper, and if he is interested in playing next year then we will do everything within our power to try and get him to our club.”
Asked if living on the Central Coast would be an option for Cronk, Gidley reiterated: “We will do everything in our power”.
Cronk was noncommittal about his future on Fox Sportspanel show Sterlo On the Couch on Tuesday night.
Newcastle Knights make play for Cooper Cronk TweetFacebook Cooper Cronk’s career in picturesPictures: Getty ImagesHis manager,George Mimis, has indicated that the dual Dally M winner willmake a decision at end of this year’s Origin serieson July 12.
“At the appropriate time there will be discussions had and we will make it very clear how interested we are in bringing him to our club,” Gidley said.
Cronk is the fourth marquee player the Knights have approached after missing out on Jack Bird, Matt Scott and Kieran Foran.
The Knights they are one of a few clubs with room in the 2018 salary cap for the $1 million price tag Cronk is likely to command.
A veteran of six grand finals, he has been linked to Parramatta, St George Illawarra, Canterbury and WestsTigers. Those clubs have either re-signed players or recruited other halves.
“Most clubs have already strengthened their rosters,” Gidley said.
Cronk would be the biggest signing in the Knights’30-year history and,with the uncertainty over the future of Trent Hodkinson, is seen as the ideal man to groom young halves Brock Lamb, Jalen Feeney and Jack Cogger.
As well as Cronk, the Knights are also in talks with Canterbury captain James Graham.
“Cooper and James,in terms of the qualities they bring to a club on and off the field, are exactly what we are after,” Gidley said. “They are super talented players, they are both experienced and bring genuine leadership traits which is what our young squad is in need of.There are obviously some challenges to work through to make that happen.”
Graham,31, is contracted to the Canterbury for 2018 but could be squeezed outas the Dogs look to free-up $2 million in the cap to accommodate the arrival of Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods.
“Weneed to respect the fact he is contracted to the Bulldogs,” Gidley said.“But if circumstances change there,he certainly knows how we feel and how much we would love to have him at the club.”