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.

Cancer fight gets UGLY at Top Pub

CLOSE CUT: Steve Bates (right) takes a pair of clippers to Peter Law.

Duty manager Kerry McAuliffe raises over $9000.

Labor Senator slams O'Dowd on backpacker tax

Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm.

Senator Anthony Chisholm says Ken O'Dowd wants "a bob each way".

Bill Kenning's Roweiner wins Thangool Cup

HOME STRETCH: Lushness (left) leads Race 6 at Thangool on Saturday.

Slow turf leads to nine-length upset.

Local Partners

Cattle judging draws crowds at Moura Coal & Country Festival

Kenrol Brahman Stud won Most Successful Exhibitor.

Breast cancer survivors give back to supporters

SUPPORTERS: From left: Jane Henney, Tessa Ives, Mandy Sanderson, Lyn Witham and Sandra Grummit at September 3's BCNA fundraiser.

Biloela fundraiser brings in more than $4200 for BCNA.

Cancer fight gets UGLY at Top Pub

CLOSE CUT: Steve Bates (right) takes a pair of clippers to Peter Law.

Duty manager Kerry McAuliffe raises over $9000.

Labor Senator slams O'Dowd on backpacker tax

Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm.

Senator Anthony Chisholm says Ken O'Dowd wants "a bob each way".

Bill Kenning's Roweiner wins Thangool Cup

HOME STRETCH: Lushness (left) leads Race 6 at Thangool on Saturday.

Slow turf leads to nine-length upset.

Rideout aims for home win at Thangool

Owner-trainer Damien Rideout (right) with race 6 contender Lushness. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Local owner-trainer eyes possible victory in race 6.

Champion trainer eyes Thangool Cup

CHASING THE CUP: Trainer John Manzelmann with jockey David Simmons who will ride Mishani Stealth on Saturday.

John Manzelmann's Mishani Stealth is the horse to beat.

Biloela Cockatoos win back to back premierships

The Biloela Cockatoos are the CQRU reserve grade premiers for 2016.Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Cockatoos defeat Mount Morgan 33-29 in extra-time thriller.

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

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

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record