All about desire
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.”