SYDNEY Roosters captain Boyd Cordner has played diplomat after halfback Mitchell Pearce was allowed to walk from the club following its signing of Australian No.7 Cooper Cronk.
Cordner spoke with Cronk in Kangaroos camp after the Roosters granted Pearce a release from the final two years of his deal. Cronk told Cordner he felt awkward about Pearce's departure.
"It's only natural for him to feel like that, coming to a new club and this happened. But I just reassured him that we're so happy that he's coming to the Roosters," Cordner said.
"He's a Rooster now. These things are out of your control and that's footy. It's a business. He shouldn't be feeling like it was his fault or anything because it's not.
"Although it's sad to see Pearcey go, we're super happy to have Cooper Cronk coming to the Roosters."
Cordner had been in constant contact with Pearce since Cronk's signing, and spoke to the NSW State of Origin halfback before he officially requested a release from the Roosters.
He said he respected Pearce's decision to leave.
"He gave me a call before he went to see the Roosters and let me know he was going to ask for a release and try and look elsewhere," Cordner said. "I don't know if I was just hopeful that he was going to stay. I thought that he might've stayed. But it wasn't to be and I can understand his decision."
Cordner said he also spoke to several Roosters teammates to ensure there was no ill-feeling over the exit of a player who had worn the No.7 jumper for 11 years.
"I've been speaking to a couple of the boys and, although they are sad as well, they understand the situation and understand what's going on," he said.
"Pearcey's moved on now so, on behalf of the playing group and coaching staff, we're more than excited to have Cooper Cronk as a Rooster now."
Cordner was adamant the Roosters would be better after the roster upheaval, which also included the blue-chip signing of fullback James Tedesco.
"If you have look at the halfback we've just signed, he's a Queensland Origin halfback, a premiership- winning halfback and he's also the Australian halfback," he said. "We've also made another pretty good signing with James Tedesco.
"I still think that although Pearcey's a great player, what he (Cronk) does on the football field, some of the stuff he does, no one else can do."
Manly is believed to be leading the chase for Pearce's signature, with Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne and Cronulla also all reportedly interested.