Storm stars a big test

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

IT’S been well doc­u­mented that Cooper Cronk was nice enough to give me a few point­ers in rep­re­sen­ta­tive camp af­ter my move to half­back this year.

I’ve al­ways been known as more of a run­ner of the ball but he gave me some tips on be­ing a ball- play­ing op­tion in­stead for the times when JT is out.

He gave me an­other way of look­ing at the game and it was a way of im­prov­ing.

He helped me with be­ing able to read on the run what the de­fen­sive line is do­ing and their num­bers, and steer­ing away from set struc­tures if I see an op­por­tu­nity.

Tonight we’ll be ri­vals and we know we’ll have to play at our best, or very close to it, if we are to beat the com­pe­ti­tion pace­set­ters.

It gives us a good chance to see where we’re at as a team. We had a good run of re­sults through the mid­dle part of the sea­son and un­for­tu­nately last week­end that win­ning run came to an end against the Roost­ers.

We had our­selves in a good po­si­tion to win that game up 16- 6 at half­time and we couldn’t make the most of the op­por­tu­nity we had.

This week again we get an­other chance to come up against the form team of the com­pe­ti­tion and for us as a whole group it’s a real chal­lenge across the park.

Cameron Mun­ster’s out for the Storm but who­ever fills in at five- eighth will be very clear in what their job is and the guys around them will help them.

They’ve been for­tu­nate to have three very ex­pe­ri­enced and smart foot­ball play­ers in Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith who can help them set­tle in.

JT and Joey Johns anointed Smith the GOAT – the great­est of all time – af­ter his 350th game last week and he’s def­i­nitely up there.

I’m prob­a­bly lucky in the sense I get to play be­side JT ev­ery week. Some­times you might get caught tak­ing it for granted, but I try not to.

Look­ing at Cameron Smith from the out­side look­ing in, you can un­der­stand why peo­ple like JT and Joey call him that. He’s right up there in my opin­ion. The best, if not very close to.

The “big three” are very smart play­ers and have played a lot to­gether, which means they can put fo­cus on break­ing down the other team be­cause they know their game so well.

They’ll pick up other teams’ game plans and do what they can do to shut that down.

SMART: Ma­roons half Cooper Cronk is tack­led dur­ing Game Three of the 2017 State Of Ori­gin se­ries.

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