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Cooper Cronk has announced he's retiring from rugby league at the end of the year.

The most experienced half in NRL history has called time on his 16 year career – a decision that must have been difficult to make.

"I've got a lot of people to thank, the Roosters, Storm and family. I'd just like to thank the entire rugby league community," he said.

Cooper Cronk Has Announced His Retirement From Rugby League
Credit: PA

"The game doesn't exist without the NRL community and therefore I wouldn't exist. The game cops its whacks but the game has the ability to transform lives and it has transformed mine.

"To members, fans, supporters of both the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters – thank you very much. You created an environment, an atmosphere of plenty of support.

"Without Melbourne Storm in my life I'm not the person I am today. I just really appreciate everything Melbourne Storm did for me. I moved down as a teenager and without them I wouldn't be standing here today."

He made particular mention to what he called 'the big three', team mates Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, as well as coach Craig Bellamy, for helping him throughout his career.

"Those two guys will go down as the best two players in their position. That makes me the best third wheel the game's ever seen because I just jumped off the back of them," he said.

Cooper Cronk Has Announced His Retirement From Rugby League
Credit: PA

"I'll be forever grateful for what those two guys did for me on and off the field. I'm pleased and humbled my name gets mentioned in the same breath as those two.

"There's not too many people I respect on this planet more than Craig Bellamy. He's never shouted me a beer in 15 years, I can't wait for him to shout me a beer. He's a mate first and coach second.

"The work ethic, the humility, dedication and what it takes to me it, he's taught me that. I wouldn't have the fond memories without Craig Bellamy."

In his 16 years on the field, he's notched up more than 300 games for the Melbourne Storm, 22 State of Origins and 38 caps for the Kangaroos.

He played with a broken scapula for the Roosters when they won the Grand Final against his former team Melbourne Storm last year.

He's won the Dally M Player of the Year and Halfback of the Year, the Clive Churchill Medal and the Rugby League World Golden Boot Award.

What an innings Coop!

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