Since joining the Storm in 2004, Cronk has developed into one of the game’s best players, winning a Dally M medal, a Clive Churchill medal and being named Dally M Halfback of the Year four times, as well as representing his country on 28 occasions and his state 19 times.
Cronk said the decision was a tough one to make emotionally, but knew that for his football career to continue, there was only one place for him to play.
“When it comes down to a football point of view, it is a pretty easy answer,” the 32-year old said.
“Melbourne Storm have been great to me, they’ve basically given me everything that I’ve got, so hopefully I can repay them with a little bit of love in return.”
“My girlfriend is based in Sydney, and she’s brought a lot of positivity and joy and a lot of good times to my life and I thank her for her support.
“It’s quite a difficult situation, there’s no doubt there was an emotional connection to Sydney, Sydney is where I see my future in terms of post football and family life, but for the meantime the Melbourne Storm is the best decision.”
The 293-gamer will be close to 35 when the new contract ends, but admitted his stance on retirement had changed over the past 12 months and he was more than open to playing on in 2019 if the circumstances permit.
“If you had of asked me 12 months ago, I probably would have said it is my last contract,” Cronk said.
“But the way I sit here today, I’m in a really good headspace, physically I’m okay and I think I’m playing at an okay level and I’m really enjoying my football, it’s probably the most enjoyable year I’ve had in a long time so anything’s possible, a lot can change.”