Cronk to leave Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australia halfback Cooper Cronk has announced he will leave the Storm at the end of the season.
The 33-year-old has opted against taking up the final year of his contract, meaning 2017 will be his last season playing for Melbourne.
Cronk has played 306 games for the Storm across 15 seasons, winning the Clive Churchill Medal in 2012 and the Dally M Medal in 2013 and 2016, while he has also played 32 Tests for Australia and 19 State of Origin games for Queensland.
"Melbourne Storm has been everything to me since moving down here from Brisbane as a kid back in 2003," Cronk said.
"The club has helped me grow into the person I am today and I will be forever grateful to Craig [Bellamy], the coaches, my teammates and everyone associated with this great club for making it such a special place to be a part of. I will always be a Melbourne Storm person.
"To our incredible members and fans, we have shared so many special moments together over the years and I promise you I will be doing everything I can to make 2017 a season we will never forget."
Cronk explained that his decision was personal and not football related, as his fiancée, Fox Sports reporter Tara Rushton, is based in Sydney.
"To Tara and my family, thank you for your patience. If it was a football decision I'd be staying here for a very long time," Cronk said at a media conference on Tuesday.
"There are a few things that are more important than football, such as family, getting married and starting a family.
"I've been pretty selfish in my approach to my football career and it's about time I put someone else first.
"I love the Melbourne Storm but you need a balance outside football and unfortunately I don't have that in Melbourne."
Cronk said that he does not have an NRL playing contract beyond 2017 and would wait to see how things played out with his move to Sydney before making any decisions on his football career.