Stick to the plan, Cronk tells Storm
Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk has called for faith and patience after his side was thoroughly outplayed by Sydney Roosters on Monday.
After a team performance that his coach Craig Bellamy described as both "phyiscally weak and mentally weak", Cronk insisted the Storm needed to stick to their plan in order to get through their Origin-affected rounds.
"Look it was a tough night at the office, no doubt about that, but... we had the right plan in place. Just because we didn't execute doesn't mean you throw the idea out the window," the Queensland and Australian Test halfback said.
"The idea is for the rep players to go away and do what they do for their state, but to have the emerging leaders to step up and be part of what this team's all about. And to be fair they're the guys that have been driving our start to the season, they've been our best players."
Unfortunately for Cronk and the Storm, their non-Origin players were unable to step up against a dominant Roosters outfit on Monday night. Bellamy pointed out that the only three players in action on Monday who didn't get a rest last week – Origin players Will Chambers, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith – were by far his best.
Now those players will be given some well-earned time off as the rest of the squad stays in Sydney ahead of their Saturday night clash with the Panthers.
"It's a tough period to get the formula right," Cronk said. "Do you have time off or do you sit there and train, because at training the guys who play rep football are quite influential in the way we train.
"It's our job as senior players to keep the mood up and keep the confidence up because we've been super competitive all year long and we will be for the rest of the year, no doubt about that you don't throw it out after one night.
"Hand up – [it was a] poor performance. But [we'll] get back to work, put the overalls on come out Saturday night and have a red hot crack."
The Storm only managed to score two points on Monday night, their lowest score since this time last year when the Cowboys held them to nil. That stat reflects their yearly struggle around Origin time as well as the dominance of the Roosters on Monday night. The Storm's big men never seemed to be able to gain the ascendancy in order to give their creative playmakers like Cronk a chance to put points on the board.
"I think every player would like to have it their own way – up tempo footy over the advantage line taking on a backward rolling defence – but that's rugby league," Cronk said. "Sometimes it's tough, so roll the sleeves up, put your shoulder into the defence.
"We were a bit soft... They were dominant, you go back to our game against them in Melbourne it was one of the highly contested games of the year; we defended really well.
"We were physical through the middle third and created chances on the edge so don't lose faith.
"This football team can compete with the best teams, we didn't do that [on Monday] but we've improved from last year and just can't get lost in what we're about this year."