"There’s more to life than footy." Why Cooper Cronk is about to play his last career match.

As the Storm and Cowboys shape up for Sunday night’s NRL grand final, focus has shifted a little from the firestorm that came from Macklemore’s decision to perform Same Love to centre on two-time Dally M winner Cooper Cronk.

Because, according to Fairfax, it will be his final rugby league game before relocating to Sydney to be with his fiancée, TV presenter Tara Rushton.

Cronk’s coach Craig Bellamy told the news outlet if anyone was to bid farewell to such a highly decorated career for love, it would be the 33-year-old.

“If anyone was going to do it, it would be Cooper,” he said. “He’s lived his life the way he wants and now he wants something different and he’s willing to give something up for it. We’re happy for him – and he’s happy.”

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Johnathan Thurston, his longtime friend and Cowboys captain, told Fairfax Cronk is simply “not guided by what other people want him to be”.

In April this year, after several years in a long-distance relationship with Rushton, the NRL star announced he planned to leave Melbourne Storm after 14 years to join his fiancee in Sydney.

In a press conference at the time, Cronk was frank, admitting “there’s more to life than football”.


“She loves Melbourne but the funny thing is, she’s worked really hard to get where she is,” the 33-year-old told reporters.

“And we’ve had a thousand discussions about the possibilities of things but I’m not about to ask her or force her to give up what she’s worked so hard for.

“I think I’m in a position to sacrifice what I’ve done and I’d be more than willing to sacrifice anything that I’ve done for our relationship going forward into the future.”

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He went on to say that it was time for him to invest in his future with Rushton.

“Unfortunately — or fortunately — whichever side you sit on, it’s time for me to try and prioritise my time and my future and that’s why I’ve made the announcement.

“There’s a few things in life that are more important than football, like family, getting married and a future.

“I’ve been pretty selfish in my approach to my football career and I think it’s time I put someone else and something else first,” Cronk said.

The couple were engaged in January of this year, as revealed by the Daily Telegraph.