Punters back Cronk for more glory
THE weight of betting money says the Storm will miss Cooper Cronk more than he will miss the security of his old club's structure around him.
The adage about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts says the punters will be wrong again when the seasons of Cronk's Roosters and the Storm side he left after 14 years can be evaluated.
It's one of the most intriguing questions surrounding the upcoming rugby league season, with Cronk the biggest recruit since Anakin Skywalker couldn't agree to a new contract with the Jedis.
The Roosters are $5 premiership favourites with Ladbrokes, with the Cowboys at $5.50 and Storm at $6.50.
The Storm still have Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy, so expect Melbourne, all things being equal with injury, to still be going stronger than the Tricolours when the whips are cracking.
Cronk played his first game for the Roosters on Saturday in a trial in Gosford, his face not familiar in the red, white and blue at this stage, at any rate.
Roosters boss Nick Politis brought Cronk to the club to be the difference in how his side finish sets of six … especially late in games and, even more so, late in the seasons.
James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou are three players who will be better for being a teammate of Cronk's over the next two years.
Ex-Rooster Aidan Guerra says the Tricolours, many of them reportedly so shaken by their club's ditching in October of their friend Mitchell Pearce to force a place for Cronk, will have gotten over the internal discontent.
"It may have been like that in the short term,'' said Guerra, who, like Pearce, joined Newcastle.
"But we understand as footballers that it is a business. I'm sure the players there … I don't want to say moved on … but have dealt with the issues they might have had.
"Cooper is now their halfback and they will be a quality football side. They will be expected to win a lot of games.''
The dismay among the Roosters over Pearce's treatment will have been contained by last week's announcement that Boyd Cordner had agreed to play five more years with them.
There were speculation at times last year that firstly Cordner and then Jake Friend would have to be moved on because of the signings of Tedesco and then Cronk.
It was a canny and necessary development to keep both.