Cooper Cronk was better than Andrew Johns. There, I said it.
After you wiped up the Blend 43 from your table and chin, let’s have a think.
I’m about to walk you through a simple process of deductive reasoning. In particular I’m going to demonstrate that (a) Andrew Johns was indeed the greatest but that (b) his dominance was incomplete and that (c) it’s within his failings that others have excelled. Therefore, ipso facto, (d) the No. 7 jersey has a brand-new monarch.
Let’s start by agreeing on the obvious – that Johns retired as the best. Certainly on an individual level he’d won it all as a four-time halfback of the year and with five Provan Summons, three Dally Ms, two boots-a-golden and a Churchill.
Though for all his individual success Johns was not perfect. Personal life aside, he was a few pointed toes shy of your Nadia Comaneci.
Case in point, would the greatest No. 7 have lost nearly half his games? And for all his mastery he could manage only one unified premiership. Despite playing with some very rare company, his record for club, state and country was handy at best.
Conversely, Cronk’s record is unsurpassed. He’s won more premierships, more Tests and more Origins at a canter. With an unbelievable win ratio over ten per cent higher than Johns, he’s always managed to pull the team along with him.
But wait – you say it’s because Johns had less support. While you make a valid point, so does an urchin. True, the Knights were headless without him, but Cronk had a similar effect. The Maroons only lost when he broke his arm. And he wasn’t there for the 2008 World Cup disaster. Hell, the Chooks even picked him to carry drinks in last year’s grand final such were their chances without him.
And another thing: would the game’s greatest halfback get shunted out of position, and for no more than a footnote in Geoff Toovey or a walking intercept in Brett Kimmorley? I should think not. The number-one No. 7 would do the exact opposite, like how Cronk dumped Johnathan Thurston from halfback to five-eighth through the peak of his career.
While I could go on, my turmeric latte is being served, so I’ll rest my case. Cooper Cronk is the best, I tell you – he’s the undisputed king of the No. 7s