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Roy Masters on Cooper Cronk in the SMH

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  • Roy Masters on Cooper Cronk in the SMH

    Google it, or buy the SMH.
    Roy Masters at his intelligent best.

  • #2
    Great article...

    Comment


    • #3
      Too many journalists who just pass on the facts, where Masters offers insight into why things happen.
      Get out of the way, I'm next

      Comment


      • #4
        https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/mor...07-p4z38h.html

        This is a story about a 34-year-old NRL player with a name that sounds like a clapped-out Mini, a man who is small enough to hang from the rear view mirror of the big human vans he steers around the football field, and why he can change the culture of a club controlled by a car tsar.
        Cooper Cronk, who spent 15 years with the Melbourne Storm, is the player and the club is the Sydney Roosters, led by Nick Politis, the businessman who signed him to a two-year deal.
        Some still call the Roosters the “transit lounge”, the label given by their former coach, Jack Gibson, who passed through the club himself three times, once as a player and twice as a coach.


        But no-one can accuse Politis of irrational buying and selling after last year’s capitulation in a
        preliminary final when the Roosters succumbed on their own home ground to a team that finished bottom of the semis, was missing its two co-captains and making its third successive weekend trip from Townsville.
        Politis bought Cronk and Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco and was willing to retain the much-maligned Mitchell Pearce, who nevertheless left to sign with the Knights.
        Cronk has been quoted as saying he could have learnt from Pearce, which is a generous way of saying their skills could have complemented each other.
        Pearce is physically stronger, kicks longer and is more willing to ball play in the face of ferocious
        forwards, while Cronk is perhaps the best game manager in the NRL.
        Cronk controls the game both in terms of the clock and field position via clever tactical kicks and, if he is not as dominant as Pearce in the tackling department, fills in holes in the defensive line before they appear. In short, while Pearce has been lampooned for poor choices, Cronk rarely makes a bad decision.


        It will be easier for him to make his partnership with Luke Keary work. Keary is similar to Cronk’s
        former No.6, the Storm’s Cameron Munster, in that both are running five-eighths. But make no mistake, the Rooster with his hands firmly on the steering wheel will be Cronk.
        He will offer the team sanity when insanity prevails; dignity inside the asylum.
        Cronk will replace panic with patience and will bring calm thought, both on the field and in the often-volatile dressing room.
        Think back to the crucial decisions made by the Storm over the past decade. Cameron Smith is the
        captain but Cronk is the one in the huddle barking instructions when decisions must be made
        following a penalty.
        Smith runs onto the field first, followed by fullback Billy Slater. Cronk was always last.
        After a match, he always detours praise as if it is a virus, saying words to the effect of: “I’m only a
        bit player.”
        I’m not so sure Cooper really believes that. Perhaps he likes to think of himself as grounded.
        Consider the three-feet-on-the-ground groomsmen he chose for his December wedding – former
        Storm teammates Dallas Johnson, Matt King and Ryan Hoffman – all humble, honest and hard-working. Yet he possesses an inner self-confidence which is downright spooky.


        After the Storm won their preliminary final in 2009 and gathered at Channel Nine’s Melbourne
        headquarters to watch the match that would decide their grand final opponents (Nine didn’t
        broadcast the games into Victorian homes back then), I heard Cronk tell coach Craig Bellamy: “I’ve seen
        enough.”
        The match still had a quarter of an hour left but Bellamy told him there was no need to stay. Cronk, however, always the team man, stayed and although he wasn’t the Churchill medallist in the defeat of Parramatta, he won the medal in 2012.
        It required supreme confidence to wait until the World Cup was underway - when most clubs had
        allocated their 2018 salary cap - to decide he wanted to play another two years.
        OK, if the Roosters hadn’t found the money, he would still have married his fiancée, Tara Rushton, supporting her Sydney-based career with Fox Sports. After all, he declared it was a lifestyle choice back in April last year when forewarning the Storm of his plan to leave Melbourne.
        He’s a subconscious revolutionary. While I haven’t heard him speak of -isms and movements, his support of women in the workforce points to a person who can tear up the ground of sexual stereotypes in the NRL quicker than the lectures of all the well-meaning consultants.


        Last Friday night, at the announcement of the Storm’s 20 Year Team, he explained Tara’s
        absence, pointing out she was over at AAMI Park, covering the A-League.
        He also speaks with an eloquence rarely heard in the playing ranks. Sadly, when he used terms such as “state of grace” and “every sinew in my body came together” to describe the timeless moment when he kicked a winning field goal, some of his colleagues at other clubs mocked him, which was disappointing.
        If the code is to win more sponsors from the top end of town, we need more New Age and less
        caveman speak. The Roosters have often said the player they missed most after winning the 2013 title was Sonny Bill Williams. It wasn’t so much his game-breaking play in the grand final as the dignity and professionalism he displayed throughout the season.
        It’s not as though the club needs rebuilding, simply that Cronk, like Sonny Bill, can turn a minor
        premiership into a major one.
        Consider what happened to Queensland when they lost the 2014 Origin series. Cronk was out with a broken arm. He has made himself unavailable for representative football this season, which is good news for NSW.
        His ex-Storm teammates – Smith and Slater – are expected to suit up again for the Maroons and perhaps this points to another reason Cronk decided to play on. Perhaps he wants to see how he goes without the two Immortals in Waiting.
        After all, the Big Three have been the Close Two for some time. The trio came down from Brisbane Norths together almost two decades ago but when Slater and Smith married their respective partners and had children, the two families became even closer.


        It was Cooper who went home each night to his presumably museum-neat apartment, cooked and
        ate alone.
        He doesn’t offer much about himself. Sometimes, he will open the window and let you peer in briefly, then he will pull it shut.
        “A strange cat” is perhaps the most negative description I’ve heard of him but the comment came
        loaded with romantic baggage.
        Like most of us, he’s had too many beers, given a sponsor a gob full and then woke the next morning to make a phone call of apology.
        He swallows losses like they are Castor oil, which is good news for those Roosters directors who
        don’t like to see highly paid players joking after losses.
        Last week, when Souths’ Dane Gagai was a last-minute withdrawal to speak at a Sydney hotel to 50 sponsors, Cronk filled in and, according to new ARLC chair Peter Beattie, wooed them all. Yet he doesn’t like Third Party Agreements, a reason he was never part of the Storm salary cap
        excess.
        He likes to travel, including a pre-season training camp with an AFL club in the US. He’s not obsessive, as perhaps you would expect of someone whose preparation for games nears perfection. Bellamy has an unshakeable faith in him.
        Once, when I accompanied the Storm to a match in Sydney, I noticed Cooper was missing.
        Injured? “No,” said Bellamy. “He’s pulled out.”
        Nor did he attend the match, although he was in Sydney. Yet no-one considered this odd.
        Cooper did not have to explain his reasons to anyone at the club.
        On the day of the match, former coach Bob Fulton came to the team hotel for a chat. I told him
        Cooper was out. “Why?” asked Bozo. “He’s simply said he is not playing,” I replied. Fulton shot me one of his looks, a mix of the quizzical and comical, which said, without saying: “They’re different now, aren’t they?”
        Well, Cooper is different but he’s also a difference maker. It’s a perversion to equate athletic skills with social skill, as the fall of a litany of rugby league heroes has proven. But in Cronk, the code has a role model in both.
        He is about to become a father and he would know that fatherhood is forever.
        Players of an earlier generation were working full-time and off chasing greatness while their kids
        grew to manhood but Cronk achieved his status, including two Dally Ms, before parenthood.
        While players of his own generation will retire at the time their non-sporting contemporaries are
        rising in their chosen careers, Cronk will be beginning the next chapter of his working life.
        The Roosters, with their myriad business connections, will offer Cronk opportunities and the nabobs at the top of Fox Sports predict he will become their best-ever analyst.
        “Life’s good,” he told me at the Storm’s 20-year function and it didn’t sound like he was making a
        commercial.
        Watch him accelerate the Roosters to a winning culture and fast forward himself into an even
        brighter future.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good article

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for posting Dice. Really enjoyable and insightful. I particularly enjoyed the ending........

            The Roosters, with their myriad business connections, will offer Cronk opportunities and the nabobs at the top of Fox Sports predict he will become their best-ever analyst.
            “Life’s good,” he told me at the Storm’s 20-year function and it didn’t sound like he was making a commercial.
            Watch him accelerate the Roosters to a winning culture and fast forward himself into an even brighter future.

            Comment


            • #7
              We need someone to carry this winning culture brought in by the likes of Williams and Cronk for when these players have moved on. I’’m a little disappointed the standards dropped after the premiership but I think that happened in the offices as well and it filtered down.

              Cronk will bring a culture and presence but it’s on someone like Boyd Cordner to continue it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Dice and Zac.

                It was a long read for my attention span but , like Cooper, Roy the Boy does things a bit differently.

                Sco-mo...Sco-mo...Sco-mo...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Great article, good stuff.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Top shelf article....
                    Originally posted by The Axe View Post
                    Very easy to understand Zac so I'll spell it out. Bondi Boy wants Menzies to reincarnate and run the labour party.
                    Meanwhile ISM is out looking for Harold Holt and a dingo with a snorkel an digging holes in Griffith wearing an Al Grassby tie

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      a fantastic article from the start of last season

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Am I the only one who finds Roy Masters unreadable? His articles just meander without shape, I find.
                        Making Steve Naughton look like Vince Mellars...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Salvatori Grubber View Post
                          Am I the only one who finds Roy Masters unreadable? His articles just meander without shape, I find.
                          I don't have any further experience with him but this article sorta takes you on that journey doesn't it? It promises some kind of an inside scoop and then splatters you with random, widely known facts/anecdotes.

                          Meh I guess that's what you get a lot of in the off-season? News outlets have gotta sell papers somehow. It was good to see something about us.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            damn good article!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ism22 View Post

                              I don't have any further experience with him but this article sorta takes you on that journey doesn't it? It promises some kind of an inside scoop and then splatters you with random, widely known facts/anecdotes.

                              Meh I guess that's what you get a lot of in the off-season? News outlets have gotta sell papers somehow. It was good to see something about us.
                              It’s kinda his stock-and-trade: lots of colourful anecdotes punctuated by evocative metaphors, written without structure. He’s a big head.
                              Making Steve Naughton look like Vince Mellars...

                              Comment

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