Cooper Cronk has opened up about his journey with the Melbourne Storm on the eve of the preliminary final at AAMI Park against the Canberra Raiders. It just so happens to be the little halfback’s 300th match in the NRL as well.
Speaking with fellow legend Cameron Smith for the Storm’s website, Cronk admitted he almost walked away from the club never to return.
“To be honest, my first pre-season (with Storm) I thought was too hard,” Cronk said.
“I didn’t think that I was cut for it. I didn’t have the best pre-season, was sent back to Brisbane Norths, and to sum it up, I spat the dummy a little bit.
“Things turned – that pre-season leading in to 2004 I didn’t stop training, I thought if I had a poor pre-season again that’s basically the end of my footy career so I worked really hard, the worlds aligned and got an opportunity.
“As they say, the rest is history.”
Cronk was never the star halfback growing up, in fact he played almost every position in the backline but his opportunity came when Matt Orford left the club at the end of 2005.
Despite the chance, Cronk was perplexed as to why coach Craig Bellamy picked him to steer the side around in the most important position on the field.
“Matt Orford decided to leave and I don’t know why, I’ve never had this conversation with Craig, I don’t know why he chose me or why he didn’t go out and get anyone else,” he said.
“But I was given an opportunity.
“I was told two things in 2006. Craig told me he’d pick me if I made my tackles and had a good kicking game. That whole pre-season I practised tackling and I practised my kicking game.”