Young Brodie Croft was a Stormer in 2019 but is now a Bronco.
Plenty of players leave the Storm as their value increases and they can’t be retained under the cap, but Croft’s case is a bit unusual for the Storm in that he’s been groomed for a fair while as a spine member at a club which is reluctant to part with those players.
It’s not a case of wanting to keep him but losing out to a big offer either.
It is also unusual to drop a halfback who had been part of a hugely successful season on the eve of the finals and it was a little bizarre seeing Cameron Smith treat Croft with a degree of contempt, it seemed, on the field and even mock him after the game in a mild enough fashion.
Croft will need to be mentally very tough to overcome the rejection by the Storm and Smith along with the huge amount of pressure to come up with the goods at the Broncos. Justin Hodges has described him as a mini Cooper Cronk and he has been elevated to the leadership group.
It’s got a fair dose of false optimism about it with a small touch of panic.
From Croft’s point of view, it appears to be a great move because if he can fulfil the potential the Broncos believe he has, he’s in an outfit with plenty of promise and with potentially the comp’s best pack. Logic suggests that the Storm have had a good look at him for a few years and had such little faith in him that they replaced him as they were heading to a possible title win and that’s pretty good evidence that he isn’t a future top halfback at any club.
Hearing how the Broncos are quite rightly trying to build up his confidence reminds me of a Manly signing many years ago. It was Michael Witt from the Eels and although I hadn’t heard of him, I became pretty keen to see him play when the club described him as a potential SOO player in the near future. Once I’d seen him play a few times, I was completely baffled as to how they had come to that conclusion.
As for Croft, the chance has opened up to prove his critics wrong and have a great career at the Broncos. Craig Bellamy and Smith don’t expect it to happen but Anthony Seibold must believe it’s possible, and it will be another fascinating aspect of the 2020 season.