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Queensland great Cooper Cronk.

The two Origin teams will be named next weekend and Cooper Cronk is a FOG.

Not in a fog, but a Former Origin Great (FOG) as the Queenslanders like to call their esteemed club of ex-Maroons.

But most FOGs welcome that membership as one of the trappings of retirement. Cronk – like former teammate Cameron Smith – are FOGs still playing.

As Cronk ran out Friday night for the Roosters-Broncos at Suncorp Stadium – the venue of some of his greatest Maroons moments, including the Origin III field goal for a series-clinching 21-20 win in 2012 – he could be forgiven for feeling a little nostalgic.

He played his 22nd and last game for Queensland before a heaving Suncorp crowd on July 12, 2017, going out a winner again 22-6.

But he happily watched the 2018 Holden State of Origin series from the couch, and will be stretched out again at home for game one of 2019. He is proud of his time with Queensland but not sentimental about it.

"I'm very comfortable with things as they are. I emotionally disconnected from it a long time ago," Cronk told Madge on Sunday.

"I knew my last game in 2017 was going to be it. I remain the number one Maroons supporter from here on until the end of my days, but I'm never going back."

With injuries punching holes in the Maroons side – halfback Daly Cherry-Evans (ankle) and hookers Jake Friend (bicep) and Andrew McCullough (knee), plus the early season retirement of skipper Greg Inglis – the call has gone out to bring back Cameron Smith.

He has politely declined, and if the same call had come for Cronk, the same answer would have been given.

"I get nervous watching the lads and I will always back them, but my time is done," Cronk said.

"I take more than a passing interest, especially in who the halves might be. I've actually got up from the couch, so to speak, to the [selection] table to speak with Kev [Walters] a couple of times on who I like.

"And if they ever need any other help – although I don't think they do – in terms of advice well I'm available.

"I'm not someone that would officially want to be involved but maybe someone who unofficially sits in the background and can help from afar.

"Part of our duty as FOGs is to support the current crop. They are more than capable of forming their own legacy and winning games of Origin football."

Cronk isn't calling for any assistant coaching role. Firstly, he is still playing for the Roosters and has training commitments, and secondly, he is confident in the group Walters has around him.

FOGs like Gene Miles, Darren Lockyer and Billy Slater are the Maroons selectors.

State Of Origin: Rivalry Without Rival

And yet more FOGs are Walters' new coaching staff – Slater, Justin Hodges, Petero Civoniceva and Johnathan Thurston – as there was a bit of a broom put through the Maroons corridors after losing the 2018 series 2-1 to NSW.

But Cronk won't deny that as each Origin game draws near, it sparks something deep down inside him.

"There is still that tingle on the back of the neck, the affection I hold it in, the awe of the occasion is still there for me."

Maybe there were a few in Suncorp crowd on Friday night that aren't too happy Cronk is still playing, but not for his state any more.

He received some cheers initially and then quite a loud chorus of boos after he was sin-binned in the second minute for a professional foul on Darius Boyd – yet another FOG.

Walking towards the sideline, Cronk had a smile on his face and gave the crowd the thumbs up.

"I think it was just the colour of the jersey. I remember when I used to wear purple [Storm] up here, and was still with Queensland, they still booed."

Match Highlights: Broncos v Roosters

If Cronk does retire from the NRL at the end of 2019, Friday night was his last club game at Suncorp Stadium – the spiritual home of the Maroons.

Again, Cronk is focused on the Roosters season and not farewells.

"I'm not that nostalgic when it comes to playing arenas. You have your moments on different grounds – your bad ones and good ones – and while there is always a great atmosphere at Suncorp you really do need to disconnect.

"If you don't it could affect your performances. You need to take a consistent approach to things that football grounds are the same size and dimension.

"My approach is it doesn't matter who I play, or where I play, my job is to roll the sleeves up and get the job done."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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