Pearce exit not your fault, Cronk: Cordner

Sydney Roosters captain Boyd Cordner has moved to assure new clubmate Cooper Cronk that he is not to blame for Mitchell Pearce’s controversial exit from the NRL club.

Cordner reached out to Cronk in Kangaroos camp after the Roosters on Monday granted Pearce a release from the final two years of his deal following the club’s recruitment of Cronk.

He admitted Cronk felt awkward about Pearce’s departure.

“It’s only natural for him to feel like that, coming to a new club and this happened. But I just reassured him that we’re so happy that he’s coming to the Roosters,” Cordner said.

“He’s a Rooster now. These things are out of your control and that’s footy. It’s a business. He shouldn’t be feeling like it was his fault or anything because it’s not.

“Although it’s sad to see Pearcey go, we’re super happy to have Cooper Cronk coming to the Roosters.”

Cordner had been in constant contact with Pearce since Cronk’s signing, and had again spoken to the NSW State of Origin halfback before he officially requested a release from the Roosters.

He said he respected Pearce’s decision to leave.

“When he come back, he gave me a call before he went to see the Roosters and let me know he was going to ask for a release and try and look elsewhere,” Cordner said.

“I don’t know if I was just hopeful that he was going to stay – I thought that he might’ve stayed. But it wasn’t to be and I can understand and respect his decision.”

Cordner said he had also spoken to a number of his Roosters teammates to ensure there was no ill-feeling over the exit of a player who had worn the No.7 jumper for 11 years.

“I’ve been speaking to a couple of the boys and, although they are sad as well, they understand the situation and understand what’s going on,” he said.

“Pearcey’s moved on now so, on behalf of the playing group and coaching staff, we’re more than excited to have Cooper Cronk as a Rooster now.”

Cordner was also adamant the Roosters would be better after the roster upheaval, which also included the blue-chip signing of fullback James Tedesco.

“If you have look at the halfback we’ve just signed, he’s a Queensland Origin halfback, a premiership-winning halfback and he’s also the Australian halfback,” he said.

“We’ve also made another pretty good signing with James Tedesco.

“I still think that although Pearcey’s a great player, what he does on the football field, some of the stuff he does, no one else can do.

“But in saying that, I don’t think we lose much with Cooper Cronk coming into the side.”

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