Young halfback Kyle Flanagan looms as the Sydney Roosters’ long-term replacement for Cooper Cronk after announcing he’ll join the NRL premiers from Cronulla next year.
Flanagan has signed a two-year deal with Roosters after his breakout 2019 campaign after being granted an early release by the Sharks.
The son of former Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan debuted for the club last year and has gone on to play in seven NRL games in 2019.
He said a lack of first-team opportunities at the Sharks had been behind his desire to move.
“It is disappointing to leave my junior club but I feel that I am ready to play regular NRL,” he said.
Cronk, who famously helped the club to last year’s premiership despite playing the grand final against his former club Melbourne with a broken scapula, has already announced he’ll call time on his 16-year career at season’s end.
Flanagan’s belief he’ll get more opportunity at the Roosters appears to strongly suggest he’ll be the man to fill Cronk’s void in 2020 and beyond.
“Kyle is a crafty playmaker and an exciting young talent, whose services we are delighted to have secured,” Roosters chief executive Joe Kelly said.
“We look forward to welcoming Kyle to the Roosters and to watching his development over the coming seasons.”
The departure of Flanagan is a blow to the Sharks given he is a local junior and one of the brightest prospects at the club.
The 20-year-old was under contract until the end of the 2021 campaign but the Sharks made the decision to grant his release.
“We are always disappointed to see our home-grown talent move on but in saying that we respect Kyle’s decision in requesting the release and wish him well in his future endeavours,” coach John Morris said.
“He has proven his ability to play at an NRL level but obviously he thought his best opportunity to play in the NRL was elsewhere.”