Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has hinted he isn’t expecting to have an answer on Cooper Cronk’s potential future at the club until the end of the NRL season.
Flanagan has previously expressed an interest in landing the star Melbourne, Queensland and Kangaroos playmaker if decides to play on next season in Sydney.
The Sharks coach has been clear that would allow NSW State of Origin five-eighth James Maloney to chase more money elsewhere.
But Flanagan suggested on Thursday he is prepared to wait the play-making merry-go-round out, as he said Maloney’s future is unlikely to be clear until the end of this year’s finals series.
“Probably nothing will be decided until the end of the year I would think, and that’s exactly how we’re treating it,” Flanagan said.
“As far as we’re concerned he’s here for the rest of the year, we’ve chatted with Jimmy and his focus is to have a good last seven weeks and get us into the semi finals.”
Cronk had previously declared he would wait until after the Origin series before making a call on whether he would play on in 2018, and who with.
However if he too waits until after the season is over, it could mean he will play his last game for Melbourne without any confirmation if he will play in the NRL again.
Regardless, Flanagan reaffirmed his desire for Cronulla to be Cronk’s home for 2018 and beyond.
“There’s another 15 clubs that would like to have him so we’re no different,” Flanagan said.
“If he does become available and he’s going to live in Sydney, I would like to think that we are going to consider him.”
“But in our minds Jimmy is here for this year and next year.”