Cooper Cronk’s No. 7 successor might be right under Nick Politis’ nose

The man to take over Cooper Cronk's Sydney Roosters' No.7 jersey could be right under Nick Politis' nose.

Luke Keary once again revelled in being the chief playmaker as Cronk nursed a hamstring injury during Saturday night's 26-18 win over Manly.

Just as he won the Clive Churchill Medal playing as the dominant half in the NRL grand final, Keary had no dramas steering the premiers around the park, including setting up all four first-half tries.

Stepping up: Luke Keary says he's ready to replace Cooper Cronk should the need arise.

Stepping up: Luke Keary says he's ready to replace Cooper Cronk should the need arise. Credit:AAP

Should coach Trent Robinson and Politis want to go down that path once Cronk retires – he remains undecided about playing on beyond this season – Keary told The Herald he'd happily put up his hand.


"I could step into that role if that's what they wanted," Keary said. "If they find a good No. 7 or we have one here, I'm happy to stay at No. 6. I enjoy that role. We have Latrell Mitchell and Lachie Lam if they want to go down that path [as No. 6s].

"I feel with the apprenticeship I've done and the things I've learned from Cooper, I could step into that role. I did it before at Souths and I struggled a bit. I'll put my hand up and say I didn't enjoy it. I was much younger then.

"The times I've had to do it here [at the Roosters] it's been better, and it helps having that bloke [Cronk] telling you what to do during the week. I think it would be an option, but I also don't have a preference at this stage."

Kyle Flanagan has been one player linked to the Roosters, while Shaun Johnson revealed he had spoken to the Bondi club about moving there in 2020 before he joined Cronulla.

By sticking with Keary, it would allow the Roosters to divert their funds to keeping gun centres Mitchell and Joey Manu, who are locked up until the end of 2020 but become fair game for rivals in November.

Keary has always enjoyed running the ball and knows there's more responsibility as halfback.

Robinson expects Cronk and Jake Friend to return for Friday's clash against Parramatta but will reserve his judgment until seeing them train Monday and Tuesday.

"Being able to see how Cooper does it, how he controls games, I speak to him before games and try to take a bit from him,'' Keary said. "I also try to leave a bit of the way I like to play and attack, and if I can mix it all together, that's what I felt I did in the first half [against Manly]."

Robinson revealed Mitchell had trained at five-eighth all summer as a genuine back-up option in the event of an injury.

Mentor: Cooper Cronk's value is showing off the field with his influence on Keary.

Mentor: Cooper Cronk's value is shoRead More

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