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Cooper Cronk in doubt of NRL grand final, scans reveal severe shoulder injury

The race is on for Cooper Cronk to face former club Melbourne in next Sunday's NRL grand final after scans confirmed a serious shoulder injury for the Sydney Roosters' star halfback.

Cronk will be given until just before kick-off next Sunday to prove his fitness for what would be his eighth grand final, after it was revealed he'd suffered a "severe" rotator cuff injury which threatens to limit the movement of his left arm.

Rehabilitation began almost immediately for Cronk, who spent the majority of the second half of the Roosters' 12-4 preliminary final win over South Sydney with his left arm hanging by his side.

Brought to the Tri-colours to win a premiership, the 34-year-old must now defy the odds to play in the decider against his former Storm teammates.

Players have missed between one and five weeks with similar injuries in recent years depending on the severity, including the month Johnathan Thurston missed before last year's State of Origin series.

But none of those players were fighting to be fit for a grand final.

The halfback is in doubt for next week's Grand Final. Source: Nine

Cronk copped a shot from Sam Burgess during the first-half before being ironed out by opposite No.7 Adam Reynolds as he attempted a field goal on the half-time siren.

At one point he was thrown the ball to take a kick for touch and could be seen telling his teammates: "I can't".

But Roosters players were confident the man known for being one of the most meticulous in the NRL would fight his way back to play.

"Everyone knows how professional he is," Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary said after Saturday's win.

"He just gets it done with no fuss about him and he does what he has to do every week.

"I'd imagine if it's like what Johnathan Thurston did in Origin (in 2017 when he was ruled out for the season) he probably won't play.
"But if they give him a chance, he's going to play."

If Cronk is ruled out, Keary has already declared he is ready to take over the reigns at No.7 with Ryan Matterson likely to slot into five-eighth.

Cronk was at least protected by his defenders around him in Saturday night's win, forced to make just 11 tackles by the Rabbitohs - with only five of those in the second half.

Burgess ran at Cronk on a couple of occasions while Junior Tatola whacked him with a late shot, for which the Rabbitohs were penalised.

And the fact Cronk was able to hold on left his teammates with hope.

"He was tackling still, so I think he will be right this week," winger Blake Ferguson said.

"I know the character of him. He'll do anything for the team. He was still tackling. It wasn't like he was missing tackles or anything.

"Cooper is a great player and he will put the team first before anything. For me, it is good to see that."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Cooper Cronk of the Roosters holds his shoulder during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cooper Cronk of the Roosters holds his shoulder during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Source: Getty


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Watch: Roosters mascot caught patting Cooper Cronk's injured shoulder

Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk's race to recover from an injured shoulder in time for next week's NRL Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm wasn't helped, after a mishap from his team's mascot.

Cronk, 34, injured his shoulder in the first half of his side's win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, awaiting scans to prove his fitness for next week's final.

After the final whistle of last night's win, Roosters mascot Rocky was snapped sneaking up behind Cronk, before giving him a congratulatory pat.

The Roosters have said that they are confident Cronk will recover in time to take the field next week.

The halfback is in doubt for next week's Grand Final. Source: Nine


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Storm teammates plead to let Billy Slater play NRL Grand Final

Billy Slater's Melbourne teammates remain hopeful they will get the chance to try and send the champion fullback out with a NRL grand final victory.

Slater's plans for the perfect end to his glittering 16-year career rest on the outcome of a judiciary hearing early this week after his shoulder charge from the win over Cronulla on Friday night.

The 35-year-old Slater was charged with a grade-one offence for his hit on Sosaia Feki after he came across in cover to save a try and put the Sharks winger into touch.

Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr said it would be a "massive blow" to lose Slater for the title decider and defended his teammate's actions.

"What's he meant to do? He's just gone in for a tackle," Addo-Carr told AAP.

"I don't reckon it's a shoulder charge or anything, he just went in for the tackle and did his best to stop the try."

Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster said Slater shouldn't be given special treatment because of his status as one of the game's greats, but didn't believe the hit deserved anything more than a penalty.

"There was no malice - it's just Bill being a competitor and wanting to do the best for his team and stop the try and that was a tackle he needed to make," Munster said.

"It would be really disappointing if he doesn't get to play in his last game but there's rules with that kind of stuff and no one is bigger than the game.

"I would love to see Bill go out a winner because he's a champion bloke and a champion player."

Slater turned in a man of the match performance in the 22-6 win, scoring two first half tries to set up the victory.

Munster questioned why his teammate was retiring when he was still at the top of his game and said he'd tried to talk him into another season.

"I even asked him the other day, 'Are you sure it's the right decision, you're playing some really good football and you don't look like you're slowing down?' but he's said 'Nah mate it's time to hang them up'," Munster said.

"I told him if he ever wanted to come out of retirement we'd have him back."


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Roosters confident Cooper Cronk will be fit for NRL Grand Final

The Sydney Roosters expect Cooper Cronk to be fit for the NRL grand final as he races the clock for his date with destiny against former club Melbourne.

Cronk underwent scans last night after injuring his shoulder in the Roosters' gritty 12-4 preliminary final victory over South Sydney.

The 34-year-old maestro appeared at long odds to be fit for next Sunday's season decider at ANZ Stadium after he spent the entire second half with his left arm hanging by his side.

He copped a shot from Sam Burgess during the first-half before being ironed out by opposite No.7 Adam Reynolds as he took a field goal attempt on the halftime siren.

Cronk looked like a sitting duck in defence as he struggled to raise his arms to tackle.

At one point he was thrown the ball to take a kick for touch and could be seen telling his teammates: "I can't".

However Robinson insisted he would be right as he attempts to play in his third straight grand final and win back-to-back titles.

"I know you want information straight away but he'll go and get scans," Robinson said.

"I'd say he'd be right to play next week though.

"It wasn't even discussed (taking him from the field). To be honest I didn't even ask how he was.

"Cooper knows how he is. He needed to get work done (from the medical staff) there at halftime and he was always going to go back out there. But it looked pretty sore."

Souths enforcer Sam Burgess ran at Cronk on a couple of occasions while Junior Tatola whacked him with a late shot, for which the Rabbitohs were penalised.

But other than that Souths failed to exploit Cronk's obvious problems.

Robinson praised Cronk's teammates for getting around him and acting as a bodyguard.

"You saw (Mitchell) Aubusson and the work that he did really tirelessly in and around Cooper," Robinson said.

"And also Joey Manu, he made some big efforts in and around Cooper. They're a pretty tight bunch and you could see their work ethic."

Cronk was forced to make just 11 tackles - and five in the second-half.

South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold bristled at the suggestion his side had erred in not targeting Cronk more.

"We didn't look to chase him, we looked to put him under pressure when he kicked the footy," Seibold said.

"That didn't have any impact on the game.

"You can spend your life targeting Cooper. I don't understand. He was still making his tackles."

Cooper Cronk of the Roosters walks across the field following the NRL Preliminary
Cooper Cronk of the Roosters walks across the field following the NRL Preliminary Source: Getty


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