Series result won't decide Cronk's fate
Cooper Cronk will take the same clinical approach to deciding his future as he does executing a game-plan with the Storm and Maroons halfback insisting that the result of this year's Origin series will have no bearing on his footballing fate.
With plans afoot to give the injured Johnathan Thurston a Suncorp Stadium farewell befitting one of Queensland's greatest ever Origin servants, there is far less certainty surrounding two other Maroons greats in Cronk and fullback Billy Slater.
Wednesday night's decider will be Cronk's 22nd in the Origin arena and although he confirmed earlier this year that he would be leaving the Storm at the end of the season he says that he has not yet made a decision on whether he will play on in 2018.
Moving to Sydney at the end of the year to be closer to fiancée Tara Rushton, Cronk has a host of clubs eager to add him to their roster but also a burgeoning career in coaching and television should he decide to retire.
In blooding eight rookies this season Queensland coach Kevin Walters has begun to usher in the next generation of Maroons representatives and whether they win, lose or draw Game Three Cronk says any decision on his Origin future will be made with a clear head.
"No matter the result on Wednesday night that won't have a bearing on my decision," Cronk said.
"I really said to myself to get through this stuff and then we'll worry about it afterwards.
"Even if I knew I probably wouldn't be saying anything anyway but I just want to focus on the things that make me a good footballer, that make me play my role for this football team and then after that when the dust settles you can make a smart decision.
"There are still a few decisions to be made in terms of what life looks like if I don't play. They're the important things."
Speculation on Cronk's future has been intense ever since he announced this would be his 14th and final season with the Storm but there has never been a sense of urgency in terms of a timeframe to determine what will come next.
He conceded that there have been times since his announcement that he has been guilty of looking too far into the future which is why all his focus has been on making sure Queensland win on Wednesday night, whether it is his last game or not.
"The way to be successful is you really need to keep that internal and focus on the process and then if that does come you can look back and be proud because you know you did what it took to get the result," Cronk said
"I've made the mistake at times this year of looking too far ahead and trying to work out what it looks like and what the outcome is and I can tell you right now I'm very much thinking short term.
"I'm thinking what I can do the next session to be successful on Wednesday and then all the other stuff will fall into place if that's what happens.
"There's definitely emotion that comes into it but not every good decision is made under an emotional circumstance. I am pretty cold-hearted when it comes to making business decisions but any time you leave a job or move sideways, you've got friends, you've got family, you've got moments and experiences that it's hard to step away from.
"There is emotion but I'll make the right one when time permits."