Finals still a learning curve for Cronk

He has played over 300 NRL games, but Cooper Cronk says finals football is a still a new learning experience.

The Storm halfback says knockout football is mentally challenging and as the minor premiers head into the finals series it's up to the players to stick to what's worked this year.

"The one thing I have learnt on the back of last year is no matter how experienced you are or how old you are, or how many times you've been here, you learn something about yourself in finals," Cronk said.

"It tests you in ways you've never thought possible. We've got some guys who've played a lot of football, but at the end of the day, the message is whether it's a finals game – first week of finals or a grand final – it's about doing the things that made you consistent throughout the year. We had a really consistent year and now the new competition starts. It's not about changing our style of play."

This is Cronk's last month in Storm colours before he embarks on a new life in Sydney with his fiancé. But he's not letting himself get too sentimental just yet.

"I try not to remind myself of that," he said. 

"My game is all about consistency or doing the right things for the team. If I start thinking 'this is my last game for the finals', emotionally you start riding that rollercoaster of up and down. 

"When you're playing finals football you can be good and you can't be bad – you need to be consistent. My job is not to be emotional but consistent on the field and keep everything going in the same direction.

"When I made the announcement about that (moving to Sydney), during Origin it was dragging out, but now it seems to have gone pretty quick. I'm not wishing the year away but I'm really looking forward to the move to Sydney and what comes in life after that."

 


The Storm host the Parramatta Eels on Saturday afternoon and Cronk is excited about the challenge they bring. 

"They've got some individuals across their team that can beat anyone one on one on their day, so it's about getting numbers around their players and putting them under pressure," he said.

"I suppose its what finals are about. You're never truly confident about the victory – you always respect the opposition. The one thing I can guarantee is we'll be fully prepared for this game."