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There are things in life that are bigger than football. Cooper Cronk’s decision to depart Storm was one of them.

After 15 seasons, 307 games, the time was eventually going to arrive for the all-time great to ponder life post his playing career.

Be there for the Grand Final Replay at AAMI Park. Storm host the Sharks, Sunday 9 April.

For Cronk, that life will now be in Sydney after announcing his decision to move north in order to start building his life off the field.

“There are a few things in life that are more important than football, like family, getting married and a future. That is basically the reason for this announcement today,” Cronk said.

“I have been pretty selfish in my approach to my football career and I think it is time I put someone else and something else first.

“I love this playing group, I love the coaching staff, I love what Melbourne Storm stands for but you need a balance outside of that and I don’t have that here in Melbourne.

“I am jealous of the guys that have their families here, that have their loved ones and have football in the same city.

“I get on a plane every other spare minute and go to Sydney but it is just getting harder to get back on that plane and come back.”

Cronk admits the decision to leave the Club he has called home for the last 15 years was extremely difficult to make.

However he knows that making his announcement now, as opposed to latter in the year, will give Storm every chance to plan accordingly for 2018 and beyond.

“Instead of playing until Round 24 or 26 and then making my decision, I think it is in the best interest of this football Club to make my decision now,” Cronk said.

“In the best interests of this football club, this is the right decision at the right time.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.