Cronk bows out of the NRL a champion

Cooper Cronk has farewelled rugby league with another NRL premiership but it came in controversial fashion, with the superstar Sydney Roosters halfback spending time in the sin-bin during the grand final.

Playing his last game before retirement, Cronk was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul early in the second half when it was ruled he tackled Canberra's Josh Papalii without the ball.

Cronk was forced to watch on while his team staunchly defended the Raiders' waves of attack but they were able to send out the 35-year-old with his third successive NRL premiership.

A hoarse Cronk said after Sunday night's match he was ready for retirement after 16 seasons and 372 games.

"I've been blessed to be able to play this game. It's a humbling experience to be able to live out a dream and have some success but I'm ready for retirement," Cronk told former Melbourne teammate Billy Slater in an interview with the Nine Network.

"I've been involved with some good players and some good clubs and I just jumped on the back of that.

"It's been one hell of a journey, one hell of a ride and I'm glad it's over."

Cronk said he didn't think he should have been sin-binned for the Papalii tackle, which was a try-saver, with the rampaging prop just metres from the line.

"I'm not here to criticise the referee but I didn't think it was a sin-bin offence," Cronk said.

"It took heart and soul for this football club to defend for that time and counter that by scoring points when I got back."

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner paid special tribute to Cronk during the presentation.

"What a career you've had," Cordner said of the No.7.

"We've been blessed to have you here at the Sydney Roosters. What you've done for this team and for this club will never be forgotten.

"We'll make sure we celebrate this one for you."

The win means Cronk retires as the most successful halfback in the game's history, equalling St George's Bob Bugden from the 1950s with the most grand final wins at halfback with six.