Two deadly: Cronk, Thurston on the edge of Origin history
Full of shine in acid test
It is a core strength of a game plan that Cronk continually evolves to remain among the best halfbacks in the game.
“( Johns) taught me the science of halfback play – intrinsic parts of body position, footwork, tempo and things like that,” Cronk said.
“It was quite a courageous decision on Craig’s behalf. Looking back – and I’ve never really had this conversation with anyone or with Craig – but I think he saw my work ethic opposed to natural flair or talent that told him I could play there.
“He told me two things: I’ll pick you every week if you defend well and if you kick well.
“So I had to learn how to tackle and how to kick.
“The whole pre- season of 2006 I worked on the craft of having to kick and having to defend.
“I had a solid start to my halfback career but it’s evolved. I’ve looked at areas each year of where I can get better and improve. It definitely started with kicking and tackling.”
Thurston said the best asset of Cronk is the fact he plays the game to bring out the best in others.
Qu e e n sland committed 11 errors in the Origin II defeat in Melbourne, an unusually high number for the well- drilled Maroons, which came back to a lack of fluency in attack.
“It helps the team having Coops back in. I wouldn’t say we were disjointed but we were making a lot of uncharacteris- tic errors in Game Two which put ourselves under the pump,” Thurston said.
“Having Cooper back in the side will give us a bit more stability there.
“He has been an important part of the team now for a number of years. He works us around the park really well.”
STAYING ALERT: Cowboy Michael Morgan will play a vital role in backing up Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston in tonight’s Origin decider in Brisbane.