While the AFL is occupied saying goodbye to Jarryd Roughead, the clock is winding down on another great sports name, Cooper Cronk.
He is targeting a fairytale finish to his NRL career and is optimistic of the chance that his Sydney Roosters club will get a chance to defend their 2018 Telstra NRL Premiership flag.
It will require some good fortune and teamwork. There are four games remaining in the 2019 fixture and it will take two finals victories, culminating with the Grand Final, for Cronk to ride off into the sunset as one of the greatest ever to play league football in Australia.
Cronk played in seven grand finals with Melbourne and joined Sydney last year for the Bunnies to emerge triumphant.
Winning seems to follow Cronk. Even after he called time on rep football in late 2017, citing fatigue from the dedication and time away rep football involved, he productivity remained relatively constant as he dealt with the challenge of adapting to a new club.
If things pan out in a certain way, Cronk may get the chance not only to go out in style, but also to do it extremely stylishly with a Grand Final win over his old club.
Sydney are actually a fraction better at this stage of the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition and seem to be peaking at just the right moment with a recent 22 – 18 win over Canberra.
Cronk played the entire 80 minutes of the game, so his is not a case of a fading star hanging on for a last few moments in the sun. He has made 17 appearances for the Chooks in the current season, more evidence that his playing level has remained consistently high.
Over the course of 323 games with Melbourne, Cronk averaged 335 kicking metres and he is on nearly 340 since joining Sydney.