Melbourne Storm reveal truth about Cooper Cronk photo furore

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Cooper Cronk stands with Cameron Munster at Melbourne Storm training.
Cooper Cronk's appearance at Storm training last week caused a bit of a stir. Pic: Melbourne Storm

The Melbourne Storm have opened up about the training ground uproar surrounding their premiership-winning former halfback, Cooper Cronk.

A photo of Cronk at Storm training last week sparked controversy, considering he is employed by the Roosters in a coaching capacity.

The Melbourne Storm tweeted photos of retired greats Cronk and Billy Slater running a training session, imparting their wisdom on the club's current crop of players.

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But while Cronk is a Melbourne Storm club legend, he finished his career at the Roosters and is currently employed by the Sydney club as an assistant coach.

Cronk's manager, George Mimis, initially said his client had no formal coaching role with the Storm and merely had an ambassadorial role with his former team.

However, the Storm have since put it on record that their premiership-winning former halfback is employed the club in a part-time coaching capacity.

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"Cooper has a mentoring role with our halves Cameron [Munster] and Jahrome [Hughes]," Storm CEO Justin Rodski told The Daily Telegraph.

"He's not here all that often but he's a legend of the game and has a great footy brain. To have him mentoring these guys is extremely valuable for us.

"A component of his deal has been lodged and approved by the NRL as part of our footy cap."

Cronk played with the Storm for 14 years before moving to the Roosters after the 2017 season.

He played the final two years of his NRL career in Sydney so he could be closer to wife Tara Rushton.

The couple now have two children together after welcoming baby Harley River earlier this year.

Responding to the uproar over last week's photo of Cronk at Storm training, the Roosters say they have no issue with the legendary half offering his services to a number of clubs - similar to what Andrew Johns has done over the years.

Cronk caused a stir last week when images were posted on social media of the four-times premiership-winning halfback running a Storm training session despite reportedly receiving a six-figure salary from the Roosters.

Cooper Cronk is seen here with Roosters coach Trent Robinson after winning the 2019 NRL grand final.
Cronk is still employed by the Roosters who he won two premierships with before retiring after the 2019 season. Pic: Getty

'Roosters 'don't have an issue' with Cronk's dual roles

With Cronk a life member of both clubs having won two titles with each, Roosters pair James Tedesco and Brett Morris say the retired superstar's integrity should never be questioned.

"He spent the majority of his career down in Melbourne, he came here to the Roosters and had great success and obviously both clubs would want to use his talents," Morris said.

"Cooper's retired now; he's got to pay his bills.

"He gets paid by two clubs to pay his bills and I don't have an issue with it.

"We've seen in the past Andrew Johns used to do four, five clubs at a time and no one ever questioned 'Joey', so the players here, I don't think we've got an issue with it.

"We know 'Coops', we know what he's like and we can probably put that to bed here."

Tedesco agreed that any club would be mad not to use Cronk's rugby league brain if they had the chance.

"It's sweet. He worked with Melbourne last year as well," Tedesco said.

"He comes here once or twice a week and I'm sure he goes down there a lot as well.

"He's got a lot of knowledge to share with two big clubs."

Tedesco does not believe Cronk would choose between the Roosters or Storm should the NRL's two dominant forces of the 21st century clash in the 2021 grand final, dubbing the 37-year-old a "vault".

"He'd probably think he's done the work during the year and then trust both teams to back themselves in the GF if it comes down to that," Tedesco said.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal. He keeps everything to himself."

Morris hailed Cronk as one of the cleanest players the game had ever seen.

"He walked off the field with his head held high after every game," he said.

"He's sort of had that approach in life as well. I don't think his integrity or his morals could be questioned.

"Any club would be looking to have someone like Cooper helping them out."

with AAP

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