Cronk still keen to improve
In a bad sign for Cooper Cronk's opponents, the 2016 Dally M Medallist believes he can still get better and achieve even more in the game of rugby league.
The Melbourne Storm halfback claimed his second Dally M Medal on Wednesday night, finishing equal with North Queensland Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo on 26 votes at the top of the leaderboard.
The Australian and Queensland representative was also named as Dally M Halfback of the Year, a feat he has now achieved a staggering five times.
It's a just reward for Cronk's stellar 2016 season, with the 2012 Clive Churchill Medallist putting together 23 try assists and leading his team to this Sunday's NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at ANZ Stadium.
Unbelievably, Sunday will be Cronk's sixth grand final appearance. To put this into perspective, Melbourne's opponents Cronulla have only appeared in three grand finals in their 49-year history in the competition.
Despite all these achievements, Cronk is not finished and says his love of the game is stronger than ever.
"There are still things that I can achieve. There is still room for improvement and I know I can get better at certain things," Cronk said.
"I think the day that you feel content or satisfied in your ability is the day that you start going backwards.
"You always need to respect the game and the opposition you are coming up against.
"As long as you have that desire and want to get better then you'll continue to improve.
"I'll still be playing football at NRL level and beyond as long as this desire exists within me."
Clearly his club sees this desire, with Cronk signing a two-year contract in August that will see him stay at Melbourne until the end of the 2018 season.
Cronk will be 35 years old by the end of that deal but refused to rule out playing on beyond 2018.
"Retirement hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm sure it won't until it actually happens," he said.
"If I stop getting excited two minutes before I'm about to play then that's when I'll know that it's time to give it away.
"I can stand here right now and be just as excited to run out to play as I was when I made my debut.
"As long as this feeling still exists I'll continue to pull on a rugby league jersey."
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