SPORT Flanagan takes next step in Cronk chase July 20, 2017 GOSSIP COFFEE Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is attempting to set up a meeting with Cooper Cronk as the NRL waits to find out if the Melbourne Storm star will play on in 2018 or retire. The 33-year-old is expected to make his decision before the end of the season, having played through State of Origin before considering his future. 7 News understands the Sharks are so intent on securing Cronk’s signature that Flanagan wants a face-to-face discussion with the Queensland halfback. Cronk’s arrival would see incumbent half James Maloney earn a release to join the Warriors or Newcastle on what would be the lucrative contract he is chasing. “There’s another 15 clubs that would like to have him so we’re no different,” Flanagan told reports on Thursday. “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 (Maloney) is here for this year and next year.” Maloney has been angling for an upgrade, feeling underpaid on his current deal with the Sharks. Flanagan wants the New South Wales halfback to put his contract and the Cronk rumours to one side, with Cronulla firmly in with a chance of becoming back-to-back premiers. “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,” he said.