The Roosters have defeated South Sydney 12-4 to set up a clash with the Melbourne Storm in the NRL grand final but Cooper Cronk could miss the mouthwatering decider.
Cronk was injured after being crunched by Adam Reynolds as he attempted to break a 4-4 deadlock just before half-time, and got up clutching his left shoulder.
After the Roosters physios worked on him in the sheds, he was visibly hobbled after coming back out and could barely raise his arm.
At times he could only put his body in front of opposition ball carriers, hoping his teammates got there to help out.
The severity of Cronk’s injury is yet to be confirmed but the possibility of his absence compounds the Billy Slater charge that could end his career before the grand final.
“Dunno, I’m not sure. Obviously ice (is on his shoulder). He’ll go and get scans. I saw what you saw, carrying it through the second half,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said when asked about Cronk’s status.
Robertson said pulling Cronk from the game was never discussed at half-time and he expects him to play in the grand final.
“Knowing Cooper and knowing the competitor that he is, he’ll give himself every chance to play,” Roosters captain Boyd Cordner added.
Jake Friend also faces a nervous wait for the premiership decider after a dangerous throw on Greg Inglis in the first half.
Paul Momirovski, the rookie in just his second game for the Chooks to cover for the suspended Latrell Mitchell, sealed the win with a try in the final 10 minutes.
Cooper Cronk is TUFF, playing with one arm and is throwing himself at everything #NRLRoostersSouths
— Max Wilson (@maxwilson95) September 22, 2018
How is Cronk still making tackles 😮
— Paul (@FreaksNGeeks23) September 22, 2018
— Cameron Bell (@CameronBell) September 22, 2018
Cooper Cronk still giving it everything with one arm #NRLFinals
— Jamie Bate (@Jamie_Bate) September 22, 2018
Champion players come to the fore through mental toughness, Copper Cronk showing it in bucket loads
— Where’s Sumo 👀🐍 (@Brooksyhfc) September 22, 2018
The Roosters’ goalline defence proved the difference, with Souths enjoying 30 tackles inside the opposition red zone but unable to cross for a try.
The Chooks went ahead 8-4 when Joseph Manu, despite the attention of Greg Inglis and Alex Johnston, popped a beautiful pass in traffic to send Blake Ferguson over.
The Rabbitohs were clearly targeting Cronk, with Junior Tatola smashing him after he had passed the ball.
However, Sio Siua Taukeiaho couldn’t convert the two points from the resulting penalty.
From the next set the Roosters iced the game after centre Paul Momirovski, who was a surprise late inclusion for the suspended Latrell Mitchell, crossed for the decisive try.
When Luke Keary lofted a bomb, Campbell Graham failed to reel it in and Momirovski, who was playing the second game of his career, pounced.
The Roosters will receive a big boost going into the grand final, with Mitchell and prop Dylan Napa to return.
Roosters skipper Jake Friend will come under the attention of the match review committee for a tipping tackle on Greg Inglis in the first half.
The match was played in front of a record crowd of 44,380 at one of Allianz Stadium’s last events.