‘He’s no chance’: Cronk injury to keep him out
PAUL Gallen and Johnathan Thurston can't see Cooper Cronk featuring in Sunday's NRL grand final, if his shoulder injury is as bad as first diagnosed.
Both Gallen and Thurston have had shoulder injuries in recent years, with the Sharks captain having most recently missed last Friday's preliminary final against Melbourne.
A shoulder issue ruined Thurston's penultimate season in the NRL.
Cronk's left arm was out of the sling at Thursday's joint press conference but whether the 34-year-old plays is unlikely to be revealed until an hour before kick-off.
Cronk and the Roosters have refused to reveal the full detail of the injury, other than to say it was "severe" and included damage to the rotator cuff following scans last Saturday night.
But Gallen, who also had just a week to recover before pulling up short, said he couldn't see any way Cronk would be fit to play in a record eighth grand final as a halfback.
"He's no chance of playing," Gallen said.
"I think he is worse than mine to be honest with you. I can't see him playing.
"We all know we can play with pain and get painkillers, but at the end of the day if your arm doesn't function you can't play.
"That was my problem. I doubt he's going to be able to pass the ball more than a metre or two. I'd be surprised if he plays."
Thurston knows Cronk's meticulous recovery efforts better than most and saw him return ahead of time from a broken arm to play in a State of Origin dead rubber in 2014 for Queensland.
But he's also aware a shoulder problem is a different beast, having had his 2017 season ruined by the injury.
Cronk's determination to play on last weekend with his arm dangling by his side was reminiscent of Thurston in Origin II last year.
The North Queensland playmaker had previously missed a month with the injury, and was then sent for season-ending surgery.
"If it's anything like mine he'll be no chance," Thurston said.
"If there's a small tear there he might be able to get away with it, but if it's a big tear - a rotator cuff - you need that tackle, pass and kick and do everything.
"It's not like coming back from a broken arm. Hopefully for his sake and the Roosters' sake it's only small and he'll be there on Sunday."