Prized signing Cooper Cronk says his "preferred option" is for disgruntled NRL halfback Mitchell Pearce to remain at the Sydney Roosters.
Ending months of speculation, Cronk said he was delighted to be starting a "new chapter" in his career and life after announcing mid-season he'd leave Melbourne to join his fiancee in Sydney in 2018.
Now Roosters fans are anxiously awaiting the fate of Pearce after coach Trent Robinson met for crisis talks with the incumbent NSW State of Origin No.7 on Monday.
Pearce, who has two years remaining on his contract, is being strongly pursued by Manly and has also been linked to Cronulla and Newcastle.
The 28-year-old reportedly told Robinson last week he wanted to explore other options, but Robinson remains adamant Pearce has a future at the Roosters despite the club now having three representative halves.
With Cronk presumably now atop the No.7 pecking order, Pearce will have to either fight Luke Keary for the five-eighth jumper or come off the bench.
A super-sub role would likely include Pearce needing to place his head in the scrum while filling a cameo role relieving co-captain and dummy-half Jake Friend.
Cronk, though, believes Robinson can make it work and told Pearce as much during "a chat" with his Origin counterpart on Monday.
"It wasn't me about convincing him or preaching or anything like that. Mitchell's been front and centre of the Roosters for a long time," the champion Queensland half said on Fox sports' NRL 360.
"He's got an arsenal of weapons to play in the halves and dominate.
"It's going to be something that we can work together. That's my preferred option; is that everyone stays and buys into the Roosters culture, which I'm going to have to dive straight into and understand as quickly as I possibly can.
"From my point of view, as long as every player's got the ability, can be selfless, work hard and - when it comes down to the crunch - put the team first, then I'm sure what system Trent chooses on a Saturday night or a Friday night or whatever time slot that we play, I'm sure the best team will be out on the paddock."
While Cronk will officially join the Roosters in early 2018 following his World Cup commitments with Australia, Pearce has plenty of options if he indeed wants out of the Roosters.
Manly coach Trent Barrett is a big fan, but the Blues playmaker would also have to jostle with Daly Cherry-Evans for the Sea Eagles' No.7 spot - or play five-eighth.
Cronulla would appear the best fit for Pearce if he leaves the Roosters.
He could reunite in the halves with 2013 grand final-winning teammate James Maloney in a Sharks outfit that would feature half the Blues backline should Pearce join St George Illawarra star Josh Dugan in arriving next season.
Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has also expressed interest in Pearce, having already snapped up the Roosters trio of Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Aidan Guerra and Connor Watson.
Pearce will command around $800,000 a season to leave the Roosters.
Cronk, meanwhile, will be paid a reported $1 million a season after ending his hugely successful 14-year career with the Storm, where he contested seven grand finals and won premierships in 2012 and 2017.
SUPER COOPER - CAREER OF COOPER CRONK
2004-2017: 323 games for Melbourne including premierships in 2012 and 2017
State of Origin
2010-2017:- 22 games for Queensland including series wins in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017
2007-2017 - 34 Tests for Australia
* Dally M player of the year: 2013 and 2016
* Golden Boot award for best player in the world: 2016
* Clive Churchill Medallist: 2012
* Dally M halfback of the year: 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016.