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SportCronk faces the truth about his legacy

14:20  20 may  2019
14:20  20 may  2019 Source:   wwos.ninemsn.com.au

Cronk ponders landmark, NRL future

Cronk ponders landmark, NRL future Cooper Cronk has enjoyed a trip down memory lane before his landmark 356th NRL game but is yet to confirm whether he will draw the curtain on his career. Almost 20 years after running around for the Queensland Cup club, Cronk is primed to leapfrog Brisbane great Darren Lockyer (355 games) and trail just ex-Storm teammate Cameron Smith (392g) on the all-time appearance list. "To pass Darren's milestone in Queensland is fitting in a regard but I take 356 games like I did others," Cronk said. "But there are fond memories coming back here (Bishop Park). This is where it all started.

When Cooper Cronk made his retirement announcement on Monday morning, the rugby league world reflected on the incredible legacy he's had on the game. Bolton faces month of truth . With two strikes against Carlton coach Brendon Bolton, his future is set to be shaped over the next four rounds.

When Cooper Cronk announced his retirement on Monday, Trent Robinson shot down the star's claim about his career.

Video provided by AAP


When Cooper Cronk made his retirement announcement on Monday morning, the rugby league world reflected on the incredible legacy he's had on the game.

Four wins in seven grand final appearances, 22 State of Origin games with Queensland, 28 Tests for the Australian Kangaroos - Cronk is a genuine superstar of rugby league.

Cronk faces the truth about his legacy © AAP Cooper Cronk announces his retirment. But when the 35-year-old revealed that the 2019 NRL season would be his last, he scoffed at his success as partly a result of being flanked by two future greats in Billy Slater and Cameron Smith.

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People claimed his legacy would be tainted and that he would be proven to be a ‘system’ halfback who thrived with the greatest fullback and number nine of all time. Now that the Roosters have gone onto win the 2018 premiership, it has to be asked what this means for Cronk . Has he elevated himself to join

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"Those two guys will go down in history as the two best players in their position for as long as the game of rugby league is around. So that probably makes me the best third-wheel the game has ever seen too, because I just jumped on the back of whatever they were doing," Cronk said.

"From the first day I met them in Brisbane Norths, to our last game together on grand final day in 2017, my job was pretty easy - a future Immortal just passed the ball to me and I just passed the ball to another future Immortal, so things were pretty cruisey.

"I'm really pleased and humbled that my name gets spoken in the same breath as those two."

But to agree with Cronk on this point would be doing him a great injustice, and Roosters coach Trent Robinson made an important clarification about the half's impressive skill, his achievements and contribution to the game.

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"Cooper doesn't talk at all about his achievements," Robinson said.

"This man is one of the greats.

"The man has had an impact on and off the field in the game of rugby league and we're a better game for it.

"Cooper is the greatest player in our game with the strengths that he came into the game, worked on and evolved. I don't think anyone has got more out of themselves than Cooper in our game.

"Then you look at his achievements and he played in some really good teams, but there was a constant within that team and that was Cooper."

Cronk faces the truth about his legacy © AAP Melbourne Storm's former 'Big Three' Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

Cronk is in the second and final year of his contract with the Roosters and is expected to take on a mentor role at the club after he retires, and possibly work in media too.

He helped lead the Roosters to a grand final victory last year while suffering a broken shoulder blade, and recently he surpassed Darren Lockyer into second on the NRL's all-time appearance list (357 first grade games).

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The Roosters’ collective effort in keeping the truth about Cooper Cronk ’s injury under wraps is a blight on the game. Flanked by his senior stars Jake Friend, Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk , staring down the barrel of 10 television cameras, surrounded by around 30 reporters and NRL officials, Robinson

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Robinson said despite only being at the club a short time, Cronk even played a role in making him a better coach.

"Everybody that he's touched in this organisation in the last 18 months has had a snapshot of what being a rugby league player is like and what a man is like," Robinson said.

"He's made me a better coach, he's pushed me as a coach, he's pushed us all as a club to strive for more to want more but also to do it in a way with integrity, with an understanding of moral fibre and selflessness that goes along with being a rugby league person. "

Cronk faces the truth about his legacy © AAP Cooper Cronk with Luke Keary and Trent Robinson

If there was anything that truly symbolised Cronk's humble opinion of himself, it was clear in his assertion during his retirement announcement, that he felt he still hadn't delivered enough for the Roosters.

"I look forward to the next six months. They sacrificed a lot for me to come here, and I still don't think I've lived up to it," Cronk said.

"I've been doing everything I possibly can to repay that debt.

"I still don't know why they chose me with the decision they made, but I tell you what I'm very grateful for it, because they allowed me to have the two loves of my life, in football and my family here in Sydney and we achieved the ultimate thing last year. I thank them from the bottom of my heart."

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