Cooper Cronk of the Roosters talks to the team during the NRL pre-season match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Sydney Roosters at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, Saturday, February 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Cooper Cronk of the Roosters talks to the team during the NRL pre-season match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Sydney Roosters at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, Saturday, February 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Coach Cronk makes mark at Bondi

COOPER Cronk has wasted no time putting his mark on the Sydney Roosters, often stopping training sessions to call the shots as coach Trent Robinson takes a back seat.

Cronk is the proud new owner of Mitchell Pearce's No. 7 jersey, and his impromptu coaching tips shows just how quickly he has settled into Bondi life after 14 glorious years at the Melbourne Storm.

"There have been times Trent Robinson steps out of coaching and Cooper Cronk takes over,'' forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho told The Daily Telegraph.

"It's good to see our half doing that, and knowing what he wants from us players.

"You can't say 'no' to someone who has won four (grand finals).

"If he's not happy with something, he'll step in and say what he needs to say, and then we're back out there.''

Cronk had his first run as a Rooster on the weekend.
Cronk had his first run as a Rooster on the weekend.

Cronk told The Daily Telegraph he could not be happier at the Roosters, and never expected a frosty reception after popular playmaker Pearce was essentially forced to Newcastle to accommodate his arrival.

Some Roosters were unsure what to expect from Cronk, but quickly relieved when they discovered how approachable their new halfback was on and off the field.

"Not at all,'' said Cronk, when asked if he had concerns about his Roosters reception.

"Part of the reason I signed with the Roosters was to play with Mitchell Pearce.

"He has an arsenal of weapons not too many halfbacks have.

"There are some areas he's perceived to lack I could have helped with, and he could have helped me the other way because I'm not good at a lot of the things he's good at.''

On Saturday night, the Roosters trailed 16-0 against the Sea Eagles before Cronk helped lead his team back into a match they eventually won.

"You can teach skill, but you can't teach will, and for this team to be down 16-0, not touch the ball for the first 19 minutes, be down by six points at halftime then be in front within ten minutes after halftime, it showed we're physically ready but there's also really good character and ambition to be the best football team we can be this year,'' Cronk said.

One question Cronk continually answered was the difference between the Roosters and the Storm, where he enjoyed so much success and forged a lifelong bond with Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

He made a point of sending the Storm players text messages before their World Club Challenge triumph, and said "our relationships will run deeper than any result in any football game''.

Cronk said the similarities between the Storm and Roosters were "scary'', especially with how Robinson and Craig Bellamy operated.

"He (Robinson) has got absolute love and care for his players, and the players have love and care and respect for him. That was one of the first things I picked up when I came here,'' Cronk said.

"It's eerily similar to what Craig Bellamy has at the Melbourne Storm.

"He puts time into his job and loves what he does.''


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