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Is Pearce's number up at the Roosters?

Mitchell Pearce should leave the Roosters if Cooper Cromk signs, says Michael Ennis.
Mitchell Pearce should leave the Roosters if Cooper Cromk signs, says Michael Ennis. DAN HIMBRECHTS

MITCHELL Pearce should go and find himself another NRL club if the Sydney Roosters go ahead and sign Cooper Cronk.

That would be Michael Ennis' advice to the Roosters' current No 7 as speculation continues around the departing Melbourne playmaker's future.

With Cronk expected to make an announcement this week on if he will continue playing or retire, Ennis urged Pearce not to settle on playing out of his natural position at halfback.

The Roosters have no intention of letting Pearce go even if they land Cronk, and believe they can squeeze him into their salary cap without losing any players.

The problem would be where to play Pearce given Luke Keary had an outstanding season at five-eighth, and hooker Jake Friend is the club's co-captain.

"From my experience at Canterbury, as much as I felt as captain that I had found a home, sometimes a change can work out really good for you," Ennis said.

"Cronulla was the best thing that happened to me.

"Mitchell has been there a long time and who knows what will unfold.

"It is Cronk's decision.

"But if for some reason Mitchell wasn't comfortable playing alongside Cooper Cronk, which I would find difficult, I'm sure he could go to another club and continue to enjoy his career."

Asked if Pearce would make it as a No 9, Ennis said: "Look, he probably could.

"We saw Joey (Andrew Johns) do it many years ago.

"They are such good players that the attributes they have as a half can mould into a number nine.

"But Mitchell is a genuine seven.

"I think he would be a makeshift nine and he could do it for 12 months or so.

"But I don't think he would add to the team more than what they have got now at number nine.

"He is a good halfback.

"He has played Origin.

"He has won a grand final."

Ennis agreed the mere fact the Roosters had shown interest in Cronk would unsettle Pearce.

"In all fairness they go up against each other in Origin more often than not," Ennis said.

"It would be strange to think it could work.

"I think there would be a lot of disappointment.

"I don't know if he likes Cooper Cronk.

"I just mean, at 28, handing over your No 7 jumper and moving to another position would be difficult."

Ennis also thinks it would be a waste of talent to shift Keary to the bench.

"That is why he jumped ship," Ennis said.

"Madge (Michael Maguire) tried that with him but he is a much better player than a bench player.

"And he responded. He had a massive year.

"Keary would be very good outside someone like Cronk through the sheer fact that he is such a good ball runner and such a good instinct player.

"But he also had a good year outside Mitchell.

"They did this a couple of years ago with Robbie Farah and Friend said 'no thank you'.

"Will Mitchell do the same?

"There would be some clubs that would love to have Pearcey as their half."

Topics:  cooper cronk michael ennis mitchell pearce nrl sydney roosters

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