‘Student’ Croft ready to show he’s real deal
DANNY Buderus had heard all the comparisons. But even the Newcastle legend was blown away with just how much Brodie Croft reminded him of Cooper Cronk.
“I couldn’t believe the similarities and characteristics that I was watching,” Buderus said. “His physique and how professional he was. Even the way he spoke.
“He had the hat turned backwards at training – I’ve seen Cooper do that. Brodie has taken everything that he has learnt from Cooper on board.” Just last year Croft and Storm teammate Curtis Scott, plus the Sydney Roosters firebrand Victor Radley, were under the watchful eye of Buderus as part of the Junior Kangaroos. Buderus was the assistant coach who saw Croft win man-of-the-match honours with a 46-22 win.
“He always made the team to go back to training with something to work on after a drinks break,” Buderus said. “He was well above his age with composure and he was so comfortable leading the team around.
“I was impressed with how he communicated. The confidence he had to tell his teammate that ‘I’m your half, follow me’. I thought that was a big thing and he was going to make a huge impact in first grade.
Croft has said Cronk was his “idol” with the pair working closely together for two years before Cronk’s departure. Cronk lent Croft a helping hand this year even when his replacement was dropped from the Storm set-up. And in the unlikely event Cronk is fit, they will square off for the first time in the NRL this evening with Croft aiming to be the least experienced halfback in 71 years to win a grand final.
“I’ve loved the way Melbourne have handled Croft this year,” Buderus said.
“At most clubs the way he played week in week out most would say great but down in Melbourne they gave him a taste and then said come back we want you to work on a few things.”
The Junior Kangaroos was a star-studded side which featured Jesse Ramien and Cameron Murray. Buderus said he enjoyed “everything about the way Radley plays”.
“He took no prisoners,” Buderus said. “He was someone who embraced and set the culture of the team. He was the man to do that for us. He was the one that doesn’t have to communicate. He communicates with his actions.”
“I’ve loved the way Storm have handled Croft” DANNY BUDERUS
Melbourne is depending on young gun Brodie Croft firing in this evening’s NRL Grand Final against the Roosters