Cronk had time to reflect on his career. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Cronk had time to reflect on his career. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Cronk reflects on amazing NRL journey

Cooper Cronk took a walk down memory lane on Saturday when he returned to his junior side Norths Devils.

On Sunday Cronk steps onto Suncorp Stadium to become the second-most capped player in rugby league history when he goes past Darren Lockyer's 355 games to sit behind former teammate Cameron Smith on the all-time list.

"Driving back down I haven't been here for 15 or 16 years," said Cronk on his return to Nundah in the Brisbane outskirts. "There are still are few people involved with the footy club. It still looks the same. The drive way is the same, the leagues club has changed a little bit.

"It's a ground that has had a lot of players representing Queensland and Australia. Some English internationals. It's where it started for a number of us Storm people back in the day.

"To pass Darren's milestone in Queensland is fitting. I take 356 games like my 63rd, 107th, 212. The reasons we are here is because other people contributed to my career. I'm very thankful. I owe a lot of people a lot of thanks.

"Hopefully I can go out and play well for the Roosters.

"I haven't given it a lot of thought. The feeling I keep coming back to - without the contribution of others I'm not here.

"It's nice for me to accept the praise and the accolades but I truly know without guys like Craig Bellamy, Cameron Smith, Matt Geyer, Dallas Johnson, Ryan Hoffman … I could rattle names off. Then again Nick Politis, Trent Robinson, Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend, Luke Keary.

"Without those people contributing to what I do on the field I'm not in this position. I really recognise the things people have given me to be able to be in this position."

It’s been on hell of a journey to get here.
It’s been on hell of a journey to get here.


Meanwhile, teammate Latrell Mitchell will delay contract negotiations until he becomes a free agent in November. Mitchell has already been linked with a move to Parramatta and South Sydney despite being contracted to the Roosters until the end of next year.

"There is a lot of hype about other clubs but honestly I haven't thought about that," Mitchell said. "If anyone is going to go on the open market it is going to get a little bit of attention but I'm not even off-contract yet so it's not something I need to worry about. Negotiating time is November."