Premiership won't change Cronk's mind
Cooper Cronk doesn't believe in fairytales but for the rest of us mere mortals, seeing the champion Melbourne Storm halfback go out with a second premiership ring is something straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen fable.
Playing in his 323rd and final game in the famous purple jersey, Cronk was one of the best on ground as the Storm smashed the Cowboys 34-6 to claim their first premiership since 2012.
It was a bittersweet moment for Cronk who is set to say goodbye to Melbourne after 14 memorable seasons in the Victorian capital, and as tempting as it might be, the 33-year-old said Sunday's result wouldn't change his decision to move to Sydney for love.
"I said during the week that no matter the result, my decision wouldn't change. I'll get through a bit of partying and a bit of celebrating and then when I get back down to planet Earth, I'll have that discussion with myself," Cronk told NRL.com.
"I don't believe in fairytales. There is no magic potion or dust that's going to make you win football games; it's all through hard work. Having said that, this is a very special occasion.
"I'm not sure what's next for me, but I'll tell you what, it's really special to finish my time in a purple jersey on top of the dais on the last day of the rugby league calendar."
Having played as a utility for the Storm in 2004 and 2005, Cronk made the No.7 jersey his own the following year; a punt that has paid off big time for Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy.
Cronk, along with fullback Billy Slater and hooker Cameron Smith, formed the greatest triumvirate in rugby league simply known as 'The Big Three' and helped launch a decade-long dynasty that has many calling this current squad the greatest side of all time.
The well-spoken playmaker said he wouldn't have become a premiership-winning representative star had it not been for the Storm, and hopes Sunday's result goes a small way to repaying the club for giving him an opportunity all those years ago.
"I don't know if there are any words to describe how I'm feeling," he said.
"'Gratitude' comes to mind because I'm just grateful for this footy club and the moments, occasions and memories it has given me. I'll never be able to repay them fully but hopefully tonight goes a little way in doing that.
"I wouldn't have what I have today if it wasn't for the Melbourne Storm. Tonight was never about me or doing it for certain individuals; it was about doing it for your teammates because your teammates deserve it. Once you have people coming from that angle and working to a common goal, anything is possible.
"The biggest thing I've learnt from the Storm is that nothing is worth having if you don't work hard for it. There's so much humility at this club. From the top down, successful people can get caught up in their own hype, but the pillars of this footy club are very humble in their approach and it's a very team first approach to how you go about things.
"The Storm has been front and centre of everything I've done for the past 14 years and it's given me an opportunity to wake up with a smile on my face. I can't say thank you enough and I can't repay them enough, but hopefully one more trophy in the cabinet is a small repayment."