Herald Sun

All about de­sire

- NICK SMART nick.smart@news.com.au

ENOUGH is enough. That is the ral­ly­ing call from Mel­bourne Storm half­back Cooper Cronk to his un­der­per­form­ing team­mates be­fore tonight’s cru­cial clash with Pen­rith at AAMI Park.

Storm was top of the NRL lad­der af­ter 10 rounds, but en­ter­ing Round 19 it finds it­self sixth af­ter drop­ping its past four games.

The side has been fal­ter­ing at both ends of the field and Cronk said it was time for ev­ery player to take re­spon­si­bil­ity as Mel­bourne looks to celebrate skip­per Cameron Smith’s 300th game with a much-needed win.

“You can have all the in­for­ma­tion and all the video clips and (coach) Craig (Bel­lamy) up the front of the room rant­ing and rav­ing on, but at the end of the day you need to find a way to do your job,” Cronk said.

“Rugby league has been pretty sim­ple for over 108 years; you go out there and do your job and you find a way to do it.

“It’s about a de­sire and about a want and a self­less ap­proach about not let­ting down your team­mates.

“Be­cause the way we have been per­form­ing, enough is enough.”

Smith will tonight be­come the first Storm player to reach 300 NRL games.

It is a his­toric oc­ca­sion and the club has been cel­e­brat­ing the mile­stone all week.

But Cronk knows it will be a hol­low feel­ing if Storm fails to snap its los­ing streak tonight against a Pan­thers side it beat com­fort­ably last month.

“I’ll be lac­ing those boots up as tight as I nor­mally do and go­ing out and do­ing my job for Cameron on Fri­day night,” Cronk said.

“With big games, peo­ple can be caught up in the cel­e­bra­tion and the emo­tion.

“That’s fine. That can be used as an in­spi­ra­tion and a mo­ti­va­tor, but at the end of the day you win the football game by do­ing your role.

“It is a mas­sive night for Cameron Smith and his fam­ily and hope­fully we can play that part in mak­ing it a mem­o­rable one.”

Cronk, 31, and Smith, 32, have played to­gether as Storm, Queens­land and Aus­tralian team­mates for many years.

He said Smith’s re­mark­able con­sis­tency and lead­er­ship was what makes him spe­cial.

“We’ve ob­vi­ously played a lot of good football to­gether, had a lot of good times and some good mem­o­ries,” Cronk said. “Three hun­dred games is a mag­i­cal achieve­ment, you can count the games, but it is the way he’s gone about it.

“His con­sis­tency and the level — he’s a spe­cial foot­baller and it is go­ing to be a spe­cial night for all the boys in­volved.”

 ?? Pic­ture: MARK EVANS ?? Cooper Cronk has told his Storm team­mates it’s time to stop the rot with a win against the Pan­thers tonight.
Pic­ture: MARK EVANS Cooper Cronk has told his Storm team­mates it’s time to stop the rot with a win against the Pan­thers tonight.

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