Phil Gould has labelled the NRL judiciary system “flawed” as Sydney Roosters star Jared Waerea-Hargreaves looks to miss a preliminary final for tripping.
Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk has admitted having just ten shots at goal before assuming the kicking duties in his side’s 34-12 win over St George Illawarra.
When the Sydney Roosters realised they were going to be without Latrell Mitchell for their NRL clash with St George Illawarra, coach Trent Robinson looked around training in search of a candidate to assume kicking duties.
It surprised many when Cooper Cronk put his hand in the air, with many of his Roosters teammates and Robinson believing he was joking.
After all, before Saturday night the retiring master playmaker had kicked just one goal during his career – back in 2008 – from six attempts, the last of which came in 2013.
And by Cronk’s own admission, it’s not a craft he regularly refines.
“None,” he replied when asked how much goal-kicking practice he does at training.
So after taking a total of ten shots during Saturday’s captain’s run, Cronk went into the game knowing he would be the side’s first-string kicker due to Mitchell (calf) being out and back-up Siosiua Taukeiaho starting from the bench.
Robinson considered throwing the ball to Mitchell’s replacement, debutant Billy Smith, but thought it was too much to ask of the 19-year-old.
Cronk responded by booting four from four – including a booming sideline conversion with his first kick of the night.
He said he put his hand up because he would not have been worried whether he was successful or not, and didn’t want to burden Smith with the duty in his first game.
“I’m about tenth string in our team and the first nine didn’t want to do it,” Cronk said.
“I’ve been around for a while so it didn’t worry me if I got it or missed it.”
Robinson said the composure Cronk demonstrated with the tee was representative of what made him great as a player.
“When Latrell was out, we didn’t know until yesterday and Billy Smith is a bit of a goal-kicker but we thought it’s too early for him,” Robinson said.
“Cooper said he’d do it and we had jokes around him doing it.
“He put the first one over the top of the goalposts, it was exceptional.
“I love the fact that Cooper would just go out there and do that. That challenge there and he kicked them like that. It was just rewarding.”