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Controversy erupts over Cooper Cronk's appearance at Storm training

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Cooper Cronk, pictured here at Melbourne Storm training helping the club's halves.
Cooper Cronk was spotted at Melbourne Storm training helping the club's halves. Image: Melbourne Storm/Twitter

Cooper Cronk is at the centre of controversy in the NRL after he was snapped at Melbourne Storm training on Wednesday.

The Melbourne Storm tweeted photos of retired greats Cronk and Billy Slater running a training session on Wednesday, imparting their wisdom on the club's current crop of players.

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But while Cronk is a Melbourne Storm club legend, he finished his career at the Roosters and is currently employed by the Sydney club as an assistant coach.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Cronk's appearance at Storm training has "sent shockwaves" through the Roosters.

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While Cronk is paid by the Storm as a corporate ambassador and attended their season launch, its believed he isn't employed in a coaching capacity.

"Cronk has a contract at both clubs but did not tell the Roosters about the training session," Phil Rothfield wrote for the Daily Telegraph on Thursday.

According to Rothfield, the Roosters pay Cronk a "six-figure sum" to help Trent Robinson coach the club's halves, a deal they reportedly thought was an exclusive one.

Conflicting claims about Cooper Cronk's appearance

But Storm general manager Frank Ponissi confirmed to the Telegraph that Cronk also works closely with Melbourne halfback Jahrome Hughes and the club’s leadership group.

“It’s not the first time Cooper has been down here - he’s got a couple of roles across the club. He’s done a fair bit of work with Jahrome Hughes and our spine," Ponissi said.

“He did a bit with our leaders on Wednesday. He does a lot with our corporates on the sponsorship side as well.

“He came down for our season launch in the corporate role and stayed for the session. He was outstanding.”

However Cronk's manager George Mimis said Cronk was only in Melbourne for his corporate commitments and was invited onto the field by Storm assistant coach Ryan Hoffman.

“He does some work from time to time but doesn’t have a formal role with the football department," Mimis told the Telegraph.

Cooper Cronk and Tara Rushton, pictured here at the 2019 Dolan Warren Awards.
Cooper Cronk and Tara Rushton at the 2019 Dolan Warren Awards. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Cronk played with the Storm for 14 years before moving to the Roosters after the 2017 season.

He played the final two years of his NRL career in Sydney so he could be closer to wife Tara Rushton.

The couple now have two children together after welcoming baby Harley River last month.

“Life has never been better,” Cronk said last year.

“My wife is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

“Since the day we met, honestly I wake up with a smile on my face and I go to bed at night happy.

“My wife and my son are the two people that I see first and say goodnight to last.”

The 37-year-old won three premierships with the Storm and a further two with the Roosters.

Cooper Cronk, pictured here after winning the 2019 NRL grand final with the Roosters.
Cooper Cronk celebrates after winning the 2019 NRL grand final with the Roosters. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

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