Cooper Cronk sits on the bench during a Roosters trial.
Cooper Cronk sits on the bench during a Roosters trial.

I wish Pearce had stayed: Cronk’s regret in Roosters move

WHEN Cooper Cronk first signed with the Roosters he attempted both publicly and privately to ensure Mitchell Pearce was still there when he arrived.

While his best efforts fell flat, leaving the two-time Dally M medal winner to take control of his new side without the potential awkwardness of having another prize pig in the paddock, Cronk still wishes things had played out differently and Pearce had stayed to ride the wave of a new era at Bondi Junction.

"Part of the reason to take the option to play at the Roosters at the end of the year is I wanted to play with Mitchell Pearce," Cronk told Fairfax Media.


"There's no doubt I have much respect for the arsenal and skill set he has as a halfback.

"There's a few areas that I think I could have helped him and he definitely could have helped me. There's no doubt about that. He chose to make a decision.

" ... From my point of view everything is OK. I saw him at a wedding a couple of weeks ago and there's no doubt I wish him all the very best at Newcastle.

"Whenever the game is early in the year there will be no animosity from my end. I'll be shaking his hand and wishing him well, hoping he plays well that day and for the rest of the season."

It's an intriguing admission from one of the game's deep thinkers, who was clearly certain he could establish a strong and potentially premiership-winning partnership with Pearce.

With that dream turning to dust, Cronk will instead combine with livewire five-eighth Luke Keary who is in a battle to be fit for Round 1 after breaking his jaw in a pre-season training collision.

Keary on Monday admitted he had since suffered complications, experiencing headaches that prompted scans to ensure the plate on his jaw had set in place.

"There's been a little bit, but it's nothing too concerning, I've been alright," Keary told

"I've done a little bit of training but not too much, no. It's a slow thing and I'm aiming to get back into it over the next couple of weeks.

"… The recovery is probably a bit slower than what we thought but it's nothing too serious."

It's not the ideal start to a partnership that holds so much excitement for Roosters fans but coach Trent Robinson is confident things will click quickly once the pair are on the field together.

"I've heard a lot about combinations this week and how it's a linear progression based on time and I don't believe that," Robinson said.

"I think you see people who have played for years that don't have good combinations.

"And then you have guys who work hard enough and train hard enough that get it quickly. That's what we want to see."

Mitchell Pearce has started a new life at Newcastle.
Mitchell Pearce has started a new life at Newcastle.