New Chooks will learn from the master
NEW Sydney Roosters playmaker Kyle Flanagan will have one of the NRL's most successful halfbacks to ever play the game in Cooper Cronk as his personal mentor next season.
Cronk is joining coach Trent Robinson's coaching staff as a halves coach from 2020.
It's a crucial move for Flanagan, 21, and his development as a halfback. The Cronulla junior was released from his Sharks contract in July to sign a two-year deal until the end of 2021 at the Bondi Junction club. Flanagan is the frontrunner to replace Cronk in Robinson's starting line-up for Round 1 next season as the Roosters aim to become the first team to win three straight premierships since Parramatta in the 1980s.
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The back-to-back premiers also beat other NRL rivals and Australian Rugby to the signature of Sam Walker - one of the hottest playmaking prospects in the country.
The Ipswich teenager is still only 17 but has already been earmarked as a potential long-term half for the Tricolours. The Roosters secured Walker, who is the son of former Broncos playmaker Ben Walker, until the end of season 2022.
Having access to Cronk - one of the great football minds - will make Flanagan and Walker the envy of every up-and-coming half in the NRL.
Robinson praised Cronk's appointment as adding invaluable experience to the powerhouse club.
"Cooper's experience and football nous is unmatched and it's great to have him on board in this role where he will pass on his knowledge and work on the development of our halves across all grades at the club," said Robinson in a statement.
After seven Origin series wins, four grand final victories and two Dally M medals, Cronk called time on his illustrious 16-year career in 2019.
Cronk became the first player since former Manly and Roosters halfback Johnny Mayes to win three straight premierships at two different clubs after guiding the foundation club to a historic 14-8 victory over Canberra in October.
"I have spoken previously about what the Roosters have made possible for me over the last couple of years, and I'm excited to remain involved with the club in this new role," Cronk said.
"There are some great young kids coming through the ranks at the Roosters and I'm looking forward to working with them."
Cronk's new role will also include coaching players across the junior leagues beginning from Harold Matthews.