Cooper Cronk knows the end is near and will make a call on his stellar NRL career in the next two to three months.
The Sydney Roosters’ grand final hero will run out for his 350th first-grade game against South Sydney in Friday’s season-opener at the SCG.
The two-time Dally M winner will become the fourth player to reach the prestigious milestone, following in the footsteps of former teammate Cameron Smith, Darren Lockyer and Terry Lamb.
Cronk is off-contract at the end of 2019 and said he still hadn’t decided if he would retire or play on.
It was widely expected Cronk, who turns 36 in December, would hang up his boots at the conclusion of his two-year deal with the Roosters.
It was even speculated he would call it quits after his gutsy effort to play through a broken collarbone during last year’s grand final win over Melbourne.
But he says he won’t entertain thoughts about his end-date until the season mid- point.
“I’m off contract and my date of birth says I probably should be (retiring),” Cronk said.
“I’ll give myself two or three months to get through the first part of the season to make sure I’m doing good things physically.
“I know exactly my situation, I’m closer to the end rather than the beginning but I’ll just remove it for a period of time, make sure I get the footy stuff sorted.”
After 38 Tests and 22 Origins for Queensland and eight grand final appearances, Cronk will be remembered as one of the game’s most celebrated players.
However he maintains his legacy comes down to luck and he would have gone down in the history books as a mid-tier player had he not been signed by Melbourne as a teenager.
“If I didn’t land at Melbourne Storm or the second part of my career at the Roosters, I don’t think I would be playing 300 games,” Cronk said.
“At best I’d be an 100-150 gamer. That’s why I’m so grateful for the people, the clubs, the organisations that have had a major impact on my career.
“Without good people, good things don’t happen. I’m not standing here without the input of some high calibre people at the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.”