Echoes of Inglis in Munster's halves switch
Cooper Cronk is hoping NRL revelation Cameron Munster handles the transition from fullback to five-eighth the same way as another former Melbourne Storm superstar – Greg Inglis.
Inglis played at fullback and at centre for the Storm where he destroyed the opposition with his deadly footwork and barraging runs before successfully shifting into the halves alongside Cronk on the way to claiming the Clive Churchill medal in 2007.
"Last time we were in this situation, Greg Inglis was a similar type of five-eighth and you had to accommodate his skillset too," Cronk said.
"The thing that Greg Inglis did while he may not have had the most consistent year in 2007, he was a threat because of the skillset he brings and Cameron is very similar. He's a ball runner first option and he broke a lot of tackles last year so that's a threat that opposition teams will have to look out for."
Following Billy Slater's second shoulder surgery last year, Munster took over the fullback role and was a major factor in Melbourne's run to the grand final.
However, with Slater eagerly anticipated to return to the field soon, the Storm are trusting Munster's move into the halves to be the key to reclaiming premiership success this season.
Munster and Cronk spent the pre-season working on their combination, and like any relationship there's always compromises to be made for a strong bond.
"There's no doubt he'll have to adapt to first receiver in the way that we like to play but we also need to bring in to his strengths," Cronk said.
"He brings different strengths to (last year's five-eighth) Blake Green and we will accommodate that. We've changed our style of play to suit that but he also needs to understand the ABCs of first receiver and he needs to do things as well."
If the halves puzzle is taking shape, all that is left is Slater's comeback and reuniting the Storm's 'Big Three' of Slater, Cronk and Cameron Smith.
"I'm excited about reuniting that partnership and the things we used to do," Cronk said. "Hopefully we've still got it.
"The excitement is one thing but there's no pressure [for Billy] whatsoever. I've said this a number of times, Billy will forge his own path and destiny this year and the whole club and playing group are right behind him.
"From my personal view, it (Slater's return) won't be too far away because he's doing everything to play. But with the limitations and football gods, hopefully Billy Slater – fingers, toes and every hair frolic will be crossed – will be an integral part of our team this year."
Along with Cronk, all Melbourne fans will keep their fingers, toes and every hair frolic crossed too.