Cronk's advice for new Blue Reynolds
The 2016 Holden State of Origin Series gets its own episode of Clone Wars on Wednesday night but Queensland's Mr Cool Cooper Cronk says new Blues half Adam Reynolds is very much his own man.
While Cronk holds the undisputed mantle for calmness under pressure Reynolds' game has developed to the point that it not only delivered the Rabbitohs the 2014 Telstra Premiership but has him widely regarded as the owner of the best kicking game in the NRL.
It's a kicking game that will be put under more pressure than Reynolds has ever previously experienced next Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium as he and five-eighth James Maloney look to counter the stranglehold Cronk and Johnathan Thurston have had over Origin for the past five years.
When sidelined with an ACL injury in 2011 Reynolds studied Cronk fastidiously and it is hard now not to see similarities in their playing styles.
Both are adept at turning momentum in the game with the use of their right boot at the right time and can expose any defenders who shoot out of the line with a sharp step and impeccable pass selection.
Cronk conceded that he can see similar traits in Reynolds that he has in his own game but said that he also sought to learn from the game's premier No.7s when he was asked to fill the role by Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm in 2006.
"There are glimpses but he's his own man, there's no doubt," Cronk told NRL.com.
"When I had the opportunity to play halfback I watched other halfbacks around that did good things. I picked a few different skills that they had and brought it to my own game but at the end of the day you had to put your own fingerprints on it and he's definitely done that.
"He's led South Sydney around for a number of years and won a competition, he's got a skill set that he's reliable on and confident in and hopefully we can do our homework and limit his impact come Wednesday night."
Reynolds was reluctant to expand on the extent of Cronk's influence on his own playing style in camp with the Blues in Coffs Harbour this week, only to say that players such as Cronk prepare in a way that allows them to play their best when the whistle goes.
"Whether he was at the Storm or Queensland or Australia, they're quality players, they're very thorough in what they do and they're always going to be on their A-game," Reynolds said.
"For me it's about preparing the best I can and making sure I'm fully confident heading out there on Wednesday.
"That's where you want to be, you want to be playing against the best and he and Thurston have dominated that halves pairing for some time now.
"To challenge them come Wednesday night's going to be a good challenge."
Given it is his maiden Origin appearance how Reynolds handles the occasion will not only dictate his own performance but how the Blues fare on the back of it.
They need the 25-year-old to execute the right kick to perfection in the most pressurised periods of the game and Cronk believes that is what distinguishes Origin matches from regular club games.
"You've got to execute your skills under pressure," said Cronk, who will play his 17th match for Queensland on Wednesday night.
"You've got to have the right temperament. You've got to have game awareness and an understanding of the situation and the feel of the game and how it's flowing.
"You've got to understand with kicking and a few other things that you can control the tempo and if you don't get it right it can sometimes have a negative effect.
"I haven't been successful all the times but the reason why you try to get nine times out of 10 or 10 out of 10 is that you practise it.
"You've got to set up situations and understand that the game needs the ball to be in play or you might need to get a repeat set.
"It's easier said than done."