Williams heads to the Panthers; Cronk update

The mid-season merry-go-round gathered momentum today with controversial St George Illawarra pivot Richie Williams jumping ship to join Penrith.

Williams will have his first training run with the Panthers tomorrow after agreeing to deal running to the end of next season. His switch comes just two days after playing for the Dragons in their 20-12 loss to Parramatta.

Williams is seen as the logical replacement for the departing Peter Wallace, who is joining Brisbane next season, but Penrith coach Matthew Elliott is adamant the 21-year-old can make an instant impact.

Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk will miss his first NRL game in more than a season after he was today ruled out for three weeks with an ankle injury.

The no.7 suffered a high ankle sprain in the Storm's 58-12 drubbing of the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday.

Coach Craig Bellamy wasn't giving away who he may call on to replace Cronk for Sunday's home clash with the Dragons, however Test hooker Cameron Smith has already put up his hand while in-form utility James Aubusson is another possibility.