Cooper Cronk is unlikely to play in the grand final, but Luke Keary isn’t bothered. Picture: Richard Dobson
Cooper Cronk is unlikely to play in the grand final, but Luke Keary isn’t bothered. Picture: Richard Dobson

‘I don’t care’: Keary’s ruthless take on Cronk’s prognosis

FACE stitched, tired and busted heading into the biggest game of the NRL season, Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary has answered every question that's been asked of him with his trademark frank honesty.

At the club's media day ahead of Sunday's NRL grand final, the topic comes up again and again. Will Cooper Cronk play? And if not, who will?

Once again, Keary lays it out straight.

"I don't know where Cooper is at and we'll probably know in the next few days," he said.

"I don't want to sound ruthless but I don't really care, it doesn't bother me. I know what I've got to do so whether Cooper is there standing next to me or someone else, it doesn't change too much."

He's his own man - he's never been afraid to say exactly what's on his mind. He's tough physically, but between the ears he is unflappable.The biggest game of the season, years of hard work and preparation has led to this, and he's not bothered if the team's most experienced finals player is on the field or not?

Luke Keary is focused on the job ahead. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Luke Keary is focused on the job ahead. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Why?

"It sounds stupid but you just don't think about it. I just don't care. Honestly," the 26-year-old said.

"I don't want to be rude to Cooper or anything like that but it's his issue, he's hurt. He deals with that and I have my own s*** to deal with.

"It's just gotta happen. That's the job I have to do. We've worked that hard to get here. He's injured, it's happened and we can't control anything around that. We've just got to get on with it.

"It's all you can do in these situations. Because you've worked so hard to get here, if you're not prepared now you're never going to be."

It's this laser focus and unbreakable confidence that has given Keary the reputation as a big game player. At just 22 he helped steer South Sydney to their famous 2014 premiership with the weight of a 43-year drought on his shoulders.

Luke Keary (right) with South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds after winning the 2014 Grand Final. Picture Gregg Porteous
Luke Keary (right) with South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds after winning the 2014 Grand Final. Picture Gregg Porteous

Four years on, he's the older head giving out advice to the kids.

One such player is 20-year-old Sean O'Sullivan, who could be called in to partner Keary in the halves if Cronk bows out with a shoulder injury.

If he gets the nod, he'll be the most inexperienced half to ever lace up a boot in the grand final with just one NRL game under his belt.

"I'd back him 100 per cent, " Keary sid.

"I'd back any of those young kids on the edge who have played reserve grade for the past couple of years. I know they can do the job, I've watched them play. I watch them every single day at training train against us, so I'd back any of them.

"I couldn't imagine (their mental preparation going into a grand final). I honestly couldn't. But the way kids are these days. They're just confident. You don't have an option. If your name gets put up, you're either ready or you're not."



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