Storm halfback Cooper Cronk against the Sea Eagles in Round 24.

Storm stars to put team first

The playing status of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk for the next couple of weeks will be decided in the coming days, as the pair will have lengthy discussions with Craig Bellamy and the performance staff before hosting Brisbane on Friday night.

After Melbourne's 38-18 win over the Sea Eagles on Saturday, the Storm have secured their spot in the top two, meaning the side will host a qualifying final in week one of the finals.

 

Speculation surrounding a possible rest of Origin stars Smith and Cronk has ramped up with the side now unable to fall below second position, but Cronk has said he'll put the team's needs before his own.

"I'm not sure what our performance staff or coaching staff are thinking in terms of the next few weeks, but it's pretty important we get some continuity with our team as well as our performances," Cronk said.

"Cameron and I like to play and like to continue our performances in that trajectory, so I'm not sure about those conversations. There's an opportunity to maybe rest in training, but as I sit here in front of you I don’t think that will be happening.

"I think this team's performance and its ability to play football in the next couple of weeks is more important as opposed to us having a say in whether we play or not so if they came and said that's what is best for us, I'm pretty sure Cameron and I will rest.

"We haven’t had those in-depth conversations as it's only now we've secured that position, so we might have that today and in the next couple days, but I think I can speak on behalf of Cameron we're pretty keen to play some football."

With just two games remaining and the Storm in first position the club is gunning for the minor premiership, although Cronk believes his side's performance is more important than the silverware.

"As a player and a part of the game the minor premiership is respected there's no doubt about that, but is it at the forefront of our minds? Not really," Cronk said. 

"I think our performances and our structure and doing those things are more important, and if that comes with it then obviously we'll be very satisfied and we'll accept the honour, but I think the most important thing is about the style of football and the brand we play and our performances."

The immediate test for the Storm is on Friday night, as they host a Broncos side finding some long lost form.

Brisbane have won three in a row and are still in the hunt for a top four berth, and Cronk is expecting this game to be a classic.

"This is an exciting game of football there's no doubt about that. Brisbane are back to their best, they're playing a really expansive and aggressive type of football over the last couple of weeks, and there's always a respectful rivalry amongst the two teams, so if you can't get excited playing this game or the one's coming up in the next period of time, there's no point coming in to training, because this is what you play footy for," Cronk said.