Cooper Cronk has put his injury behind him.
Cooper Cronk has put his injury behind him.

Could Cronk play beyond 2019?

Sydney Roosters officials have left the door open for champion playmaker Cooper Cronk to play beyond 2019 with only a limited number of established halves off-contract this season.

Cronk is heading into his second and potentially final year, prompting the Roosters to consider life after the star Queenslander.

Only problem, there aren't a large number of playmakers available on the 2019 market outside of Mitch Moses and Te Maire Martin.

This could prompt the Roosters to wait a season for an influx of playmakers off-contract in 2020, including big names Brodie Croft, Kodi Nikorima and Chad Townsend.

Cronk has already indicated he could extend his stellar career at least a season, which would give the Roosters time to land a suitable replacement.

The Tricolours have signed former Knights half Brock Lamb, who could be an option depending on his development.

Either way, Cronk is expected to play an active role in helping the Roosters find his halves successor.

Five-eighth Luke Keary proved he can lead the Tricolours when he took control during last year's finals series but he still needs help in the halves.

Keary would benefit greatly from a controlling playmaker like Croft, who is carved out of the same mould as Cronk from the pair's years together at Melbourne.

 

Cronk should be ready to face Wigan. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Cronk should be ready to face Wigan. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

 

This would free up Keary to play his natural running game - one of his main strengths.

Meanwhile, Roosters coach Trent Robinson confirmed Cronk will play in the World Club Challenge against Wigan on February 18.

There were doubts the No.7 would line-up in the WCC after he underwent off-season shoulder surgery.

The Queenslander had metal plates inserted into his shoulder after breaking his scapula in last year's preliminary final against South Sydney.

Cronk courageously defied a 15cm fracture through his scapula to steer the Roosters to the 2018 premiership.

On Tuesday, he joined pre-season training as he prepares for the Tricolours' premiership defence.

Robinson revealed Cronk was on track to play against Wigan at the DW Stadium next month - a huge boost for the defending premiers.

The 35-year-old completed a series of light ball work drills as he looks to ramp up intensity in the coming weeks following off-season shoulder surgery.

"Yes, he will be fine," Robinson said about Cronk playing in next month's World Club Challenge against Wigan.

Cronk's addition is a major boost for the Roosters as they attempt to win their fourth World Club Challenge title.

The match-up against Wigan will be a repeat of the 2014 Challenge, when the Tricolours defeated the Warriors 36-14 at Allianz Stadium.

This time Wigan will be on home turf and confident of victory.

The Warriors are the most successful club in World Club Challenge history having claimed four titles - their most recent a 22-6 home win over Cronulla in 2017.

 

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