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Bellamy reveals how he really feels about Cronk's Roosters defection

Sporting News logo Sporting News 4 days ago
a group of football players on a field © Provided by Sportal com au

Craig Bellamy openly admits he would have preferred Cooper Cronk to hang up the boots after leaving the Melbourne Storm after 14 seasons at the club.

But the Melbourne mentor can’t begrudge the 33-year-old the chance to extend his stellar career after signing a two-year deal with the Sydney Roosters.

Cronk told the Storm he would be leaving the club back in April and relocating to Sydney to be with fiancee and Fox Sports presenter Tara Rushton.

He was unclear on whether he would play on in 2018 or take up a lucrative commentary career with Fox Sports.

Cronk confirmed persistent rumours linking him to the Roosters last month and Bellamy couldn’t hide his pain as he addressed his former half-back’s decision publicly for the first time.

“I don’t particularly like him playing with another team but at the end of the day it’s his decision what’s best for him and what he wants to do,” Bellamy said.

“He’ll always have my support and I’m sure the club’s support in whatever he wants to do.

“He’s been a wonderful play and a wonderful person for our club and he deserves to do what he wants to do with our blessing.”

Meanwhile, Bellamy said the other members of the Storm’s Big Three – Cameron Sith and Billy Slater – are no certainties to play in the NRL premiers’ World Club Challenge clash against Leeds Rhinos on February 16 at AAMI Park.

“Some of our older players will be back really late, they won’t get back until January because they have to have the eight weeks off and they’re playing in the Rugby League World Cup,” he said.

“If Australia make the World Cup final they’ll probably only have two or three weeks of preparation (for the WCC).

“So we’ll certainly take that into consideration and we don’t want to put them in there if they’re likely to get hurt or if it’s likely to affect them down the track.

“But guys like Billy and Cameron, they don’t take too much getting ready these days, they’ve had that many pre-seasons and that many seasons.

“I know that all of our guys will be really keen to play and if they (Slater and Smith) are ready to play, we’ll play them in that game.”

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