RUGBY LEAGUE: Three clubs have cleared $1 million in salary cap space as the battle for the prized signature of Kangaroos halfback Cooper Cronk hots up.
The Sydney Roosters, Cronulla and Parramatta are engaging in an all-out battle for Cronk and have manoeuvred themselves into a position whereby they won't have to shed any players to land him.
It is understood Parramatta would use the money that was freed up by the departure of star winger Semi Radradra to French rugby to throw at Cronk.
The Eels already had spare salary cap money up their sleeve which, coupled with the money saved on Radradra, takes their war chest to $1million. They are now genuine players in the race for Cronk.
While the Roosters remain firm favourites to sign Cronk, Parramatta's wealth and power would be attractive to the former Storm halfback.
"Who wouldn't be interested in Cooper Cronk?" Eels chairman Max Donnelly said.
"Any club that has room to move in the cap would have to at least consider him."
Pressed on whether his club had the salary cap room to sign Cronk, Donnelly said: "I'm not going to go into those operational issues. But we have some room in our cap, yes."
The Roosters were about $650,000 under the NRL's salary cap ceiling this year.
Well-placed sources revealed that Cronulla were also $1 million under the salary cap and had expressed interest in signing Cronk, who wants to play for another two seasons.
"The club wouldn't have to shed any players if they went after Cronk," the Sharks source said.
Cronk announced in April that he was moving to Sydney to be closer to fiancee Tara Rushton. The pair have already bought a home in Mosman.
Manly haven't entered the Cronk race but he could be viewed as a replacement for Blake Green, who has attracted interest from the Warriors.