Cronk will not improve the Roosters. Here’s why

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    The thinking people I know in this game are all scratching their heads trying to work out what the hell the Roosters are doing with champion half Cooper Cronk.

    I tell them “I have no idea, it makes no sense”.

    Having “sense” is something that the Roosters legendary President Nick Politis and his head coach Trent Robinson are noted for, which is why this potential high-profile recruit is so fascinating.

    Cooper Cronk is rugby league’s ‘Mr Perfect’. He could play footy in a dinner suit and he never creates any negative headlines off the field. He just masterminded the Melbourne Storm to win the grand final, but despite his glowing reputation, his addition to the Roosters would have no positive impact of their market value to win the 2018 NRL competition, in fact it would act as a negative in some circles.

    Here’s why.

    The Roosters lost their head of list management Peter O’Sullivan twelve months ago, and he knows Cronk better than most as he shared a Unit with him when he was the Storm Recruitment Manager back in the early days when he would come off the bench and normally play a pivot role.

    Sully was a big fan even then and knew his roommate would make it to the top, but it doubtful if he still had his job at Moore Park today that he would break up the Roosters’ current spine.

    It is also likely that he would council his President that he already has the best spine in the NRL, particularly as it now boasts NSW’s best player in James Tedesco who will compliment incumbent Blues half Mitch Pearce – as well as the outstanding Luke Keary and workhorse Jake Friend.

    Any coach would salivate over that spine – including Kangaroo coach Mal Meninga.

    The Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce combination assisted in a combined 31 tries, and an incredible 43 line break assists. To put those stunning figures into perspective, the Storm’s Cam Munster and Cronk made a combined 40 line break assists and 29 try assists.

    As well as being the Premiers, Munster and Cronk are also the incumbent Maroons halves, but as good as they are, their figures on two crucial stats for halves are inferior to the Roosters six and seven.

    Surely media reports that Pearce is to blame for the Roosters losing in the finals this year are folly. Pearce may not be everyone’s cuppa tea, or someone who you would invite home for dinner with your sister (especially if she had a poodle), but there can be no denying that he gave the Roosters 110 per cent this year and his figures support his contribution.

    Mitchell Pearce Sydney Roosters NRL Rugby League Finals 2017

    (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

    Luke Keary also had a stellar season and many considered him along with Josh Addo-Carr as the recruitment of the year. The other member of the Roosters spine is Jake Friend who played 22 matches and was the only player in the NRL to average over fifty tackles every week.

    When you add Friend, Pearce and Keary to the explosive newbie Tedesco, you can understand why the bookmakers have re-acted and installed the Roosters as competition favourites.

    It is true that Cooper Cronk could teach anyone, even Kim Jong-un, about true leadership, but to recruit him just for that purpose is an insult to Robinson and his assistant coaches who are all brilliant and highly sought-after mentors.

    The Roosters exited the finals early this season, and it was not because of a poor showing by their halves or hooker, but more because of the blood rushes from the brilliant but inexperienced Latrell Mitchell and the errant Blake Ferguson.

    Also some of the game-day selections raised a few eyebrows with winger Daniel Tupou on the bench and two back rowers playing in the centre position over Joseph Manu. Veteran fullback Michael Gordon was also preferred over the flying Connor Watson.

    This was a very defensive mindset and made it difficult for the Roosters to post a winning score.

    Perhaps the biggest reason was that the Roosters big men Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Dylan Napa lost the battle in the middle, which is never easy for halves to play off no matter how good they are.

    You get the feeling if Nick Politis made a call to the man that recruited his 2013 grand final winning team – Peter O’Sullivan – he would suggest that the Cronk money may be better invested into some big forwards.

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