Cronk won't get special treatment in Storm reunion: Hoffman
Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk expects to be targeted by his old Storm teammates, saying "they're going to smash me" but veteran forward Ryan Hoffman said he wouldn't get any special treatment, good or bad.
Hoffman said Melbourne would treat Cronk like another player when the club's greatest halfback plays his first game against the Storm in Friday night's Adelaide Oval clash.
"I've played against Cooper a few times in Origin and with the Warriors, but it's the first chance for a few of these boys to play against him. He was just part of the furniture at Melbourne for 14 years, and is a very close friend to quite a few of us," he said.
"I take it back to playing Origin - you're playing the jersey not necessarily the person.
"You get your 80 minutes of a bit of rough tough stuff, then shake hands and have a beer after the game."
The match also represents the return from suspension for centre Curtis Scott after he was charged for punching Manly's Dylan Walker in round 11.
He says he's learned from his error and wants to get on with his season.
"It's one of them things - boys will be boys - it ended up the way it did," he said.
"It wasn't a good look for the game and was something I'm not proud of, but I've got to move on and learn from it."
Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona has had much time to prepare for Friday's fixture but Hoffman said the big Kiwi was up to the challenge of backing up despite the fact he only returned to Melbourne from Denver on Wednesday.
It's been a frustrating week for the Storm and their coach Craig Bellamy, with the premiers juggling unavailabilities, injuries and a decimated pack.
Storm CEO Dave Donaghy also tweeted his frustration this week over the scheduling of the England-New Zealand Test in Denver.
Hoffman said Asofa-Solomona was ready to step up and do his role - despite the limited preparation.
"It's a great challenge for Nelson," Hoffman said.
"I had a chat to him before and he's buzzing about the experience playing over in Denver. It's going to be tough for him. But he's a professional and an international player. He'll be expecting him to no doubt do his job. We're having a run of bad luck with our guys in the middle. Nelson has become a real leader in our pack."
The Storm are missing Jesse Bromwich (hamstring), Dale Finucane (thumb) and Sam Kasiano (knee) to injuries leaving their pack down on first-choice players.
And if the task wasn't difficult enough, the Roosters sit sixth on the Telstra Premiership ladder and have won five of their past six games.
Hoffman knows it's an important game to stay in the finals hunt.
"A lot hinges on the top eight [from this match)," the 318-game veteran said.
"Traditionally, Melbourne and the Roosters have been tough games. I think where we're [each] standing on the ladder, there's something extra. And just to make it more difficult to pick, we've had the Origin and the Tests, so a lot of guys backing up from games."