Sport

Cronk aims to mark milestone by sealing grand final spot

Melbourne Storm player Cooper Cronk speaks to the media ahead of Saturday's preliminary final against the Raiders at AAMI Park.
Melbourne Storm player Cooper Cronk speaks to the media ahead of Saturday's preliminary final against the Raiders at AAMI Park. JULIAN SMITH

YOU hear and read all the time about how Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk's kicking game is the best in rugby league.

It's said he could drop the football on a dollar coin nine times out of 10 from 20 or 30 metres away.

The emphasis is often on his sublime ability to kick the Steeden like few others before him.

But the baby-faced kid from Brisbane with the Hollywood looks, initially sent back home by the Melbourne Storm to work on his game, has shown he is much more than a kicker and that his game is also built on toughness and being a perfectionist.

"When he first came here he was just a kid looking for an opportunity to play first grade,” said Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, who was blessed by an influx of players in his early days at the Storm that helped shape the club.

"It's fair to say Cooper had gone a long way with the talent he was born with.”

Cooper works harder than most players on all aspects of his game.

He is the ultimate all-round player, whether he is leading the kick-chase to pin rivals in goal, throwing cut-out passes to teammates or dropping a kick on to a player's chest for a try.

When he becomes the 25th player in rugby league's 300-game club on Saturday night against the Raiders it will be because, like most of the members already in the club, he is mentally and physical strong.

He'll be the third halfback to play 300 games, behind Brett Kimmorley and Scott Prince.

Sometime in 2017 he will claim Kimmorley's all-time record for a halfback of 307 games.

But unlike Kimmorley who tallied his milestone from stints with six NRL clubs, including Melbourne (79 games), Cronk has been a one-club player since making his debut for the Storm in 2004 - forming the Fab Three with fellow Queenslanders Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

That became the Fab Four when a lanky but athletic 18-year-old called Greg Inglis joined them in 2005 out of the North Devils program in Brisbane.

While the significance of playing 300 games is not lost on Cronk, who did not have a position when he landed in Bellamy's care 12 years ago, he realises there's a bigger occasion ahead if Melbourne can halt Canberra's roll this weekend.

"It will be a massive occasion and a proud moment for me on Saturday night,” Cronk said.

"I certainly don't want to disrespectful of 300 games because it's a great achievement.

"But there is something greater on offer for this football club and I am very happy to take a back seat to the preliminary final, which gives us an opportunity to do something special if we win.”

Topics:  cooper cronk, melbourne storm, nrl finals


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Homeless hotel items looking for love

REDECORATE: The Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort is having a garage sale of old hotel equipment.

WOULD you like to recreate your home to look like a hotel suite?

Illegal campers ejected from bowls club car park

LOCKED OUT: The gates have been fastened with new locks at the old bowls club car park.

Travellers have been moved on from the car park of the bowls club

Does Noosa have a problem?

BE AWARE: Alcohol-fuelled violence can happen anywhere.

New alcohol study targets Noosa

Local Partners

Dingo leads march against killings

Dingoes joined the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos as more than 100 people and a few animals marched through the main street of Eumundi on Sunday.

CQUni makes top 500 universities worldwide

TOP DOG: CQUniversity is leading the way in regional university education.

CQU may have started small but there's no stopping this regional uni

Homeless hotel items looking for love

REDECORATE: The Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort is having a garage sale of old hotel equipment.

WOULD you like to recreate your home to look like a hotel suite?

Illegal campers ejected from bowls club car park

LOCKED OUT: The gates have been fastened with new locks at the old bowls club car park.

Travellers have been moved on from the car park of the bowls club

Does Noosa have a problem?

BE AWARE: Alcohol-fuelled violence can happen anywhere.

New alcohol study targets Noosa

Learn the new anti-smoking laws or cop the fine

UP IN SMOKE: Noosa Council now has authority to ban smoking in any public area.

Smokers urged to learn new laws about where they can smoke

Thanks, but no thanks

STOP THE SUFFERING: Former volunteers at Sunshine Hospice protest their membership applications being refused.

hospice volunteers denied membership

Future for Cambodian kids shaped by Noosa gifts

The Cambodian school kids could do with some Noosa caring - and your old laptops.

Noosa asked to help poor students

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Play looks at darker side of rural Australia

THE DARK SIDE: Award-winning Tequila Mockingbird explores racist undertones in country Australia.

Tequila Mockingbird's original cast comes to Kawana

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

6 top tips for getting approved for a rental property

Follow these top tips to better your chances.

Real estate agent shares what you can do to get approved to rent

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual