Cronk not driven by grand final defeat
Storm halfback Cooper Cronk says a younger version of himself would have used last year's grand final heartache as motivation, but insists that won't be the case when Melbourne's NRL Telstra Premiership campaign kicks off in early March.
Cronk and his Storm teammates fought valiantly to come back from an 8-0 half-time deficit in last year's decider, only for Sharks prop Andrew Fifita to barge over 10 minutes from the end to hand Cronulla their first premiership.
While most players would focus on the end result, Cronk said his main driving force would be doing the club and its fans proud in 2017, rather than dwelling on what could have been.
"It's funny, if I had played the way I played in the grand final and got the result we had five years ago, I probably would have locked myself in a padded room and not come out for three months and used it as motivation," Cronk said.
"But with experience and old age, I suppose you put things into perspective. It is what it is. It was disappointing on all fronts, but credit to Cronulla, they played really well and deserved the victory.
"For me, the inspiration this year is just about doing your job and playing for the members and supporters of this football club, the fans and the players as well.
"With age, I think you draw on different inspiration. Some people may use it, but for me, Round 1 is Round 1. Anything we do in 2017 isn't going to change what happened in 2016."
While he might have missed out on a fourth grand final victory, Cronk had plenty of reasons to celebrate in 2016.
The 33-year-old took home the prestigious Dally M Award in a two-way tie with Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo and backed it up a few months later to be named the Rugby League World Golden Boot Award recipient for 2016.
Known for his meticulous approach to the game, Cronk admitted that while he was stunned by the accolades, he would refuse to rest on his laurels, telling media he was still working on areas of his game after more than a decade in the NRL.
"I'm super fortunate, I'm blessed to play the game at the club that I do," he said.
"If you had told me that 2016 would have reaped the rewards that it did, I wouldn't have believed it. But that doesn’t change that you don't strive for it. There's a mountain to climb and there's always something you can improve on.
"I'm not one to dwell on achievements as such, I'm more about improving the skills of the game that make your game improve naturally, and then those things take care of themselves.
"It was a great year, and I've already done the things to look at the areas I need to maintain with the performance staff, and then I'll improve on the things I need to improve on."