How Buderus was sim­ply blown away by Croft’s Cronk like­ness

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - 2018 GRAND FINAL - THE NEW CRONK MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

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. Bro- die 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 which saw Croft win man the match hon­ours with a 46-22 win.

“He al­ways made the team 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 pro­vid­ing Cronk is fit they will square off for the first time in the NRL to­day 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 they 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.”

Buderus said he en­joyed “ev­ery­thing about the way Radley plays”.

The Ju­nior Kan­ga­roos team with Cur­tis Scott, Vic­tor Radley and Brodie Croft cir­cled. Pic­ture: Bren­dan Es­pos­ito/NRL Pho­tos

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