Joey finds secret to Cronk’s success
ANDREW Johns has opened up about the challenge of trying to teach Cooper Cronk to be a better halfback than he already is.
The rugby league Immortal is employed as a coaching consultant at the Sydney Roosters and has been working closely with the 34-year-old playmaker since his arrival from Melbourne.
Trent Robinson has deliberately stayed out of the spotlight since Cronk signed his two-deal at the Roosters that resulted in Mitchell Pearce's move to Newcastle.
No doubt the coach is wary of building any more pressure than necessary on a team the bookies have already installed as the shortest priced pre-season premiership favourites in a decade.
It's understandable given the Roosters finished last year's regular season in second spot and have now added Cronk and James Tedesco to an already star-studded squad.
The Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield also reported this week that the Roosters still have an astonishing $750,000 to spend in their salary cap despite their big name signings.
Plenty are already saying that the Roosters have to make the grand final next year or it will be seen as a huge disappointment.
Johns said the Roosters and North Queensland were the two teams at the top of his pre-season predictions.
"Those two are out in front definitely, the Cowboys and Roosters," Johns told The Daily Telegraph.
"The Roosters are going to have a huge year if they stay injury free like everyone else and the Cowboys are also going to be tough this year."
Asked if he thinks the pressure will weigh on Cronk, Johns said: "No. I just think it is his mindset.
"He trains himself and programs himself to play a certain way. I don't think any pressure gets to him.
"He has played at all levels under all sorts of pressure and he continually gets it done."
Many believe the Cronk/Tedesco partnership has the potential to rival Cronk's combination with Billy Slater at the Storm.
But just as interesting will be how Cronk adapts to playing with Jake Friend at dummy half instead of Cameron Smith.
Johns himself was reluctant to go into the specifics of how the Roosters will change the way they play in 2018 but admits what had impressed him most was Cronk's attention to detail.
"Well, you sort of don't have to (coach him)," Johns explained. "It is just little thing here and there.
"It is talking about the players around him really. Just trying to work out how to read what a player is going to do in certain areas.
"We all know what a wonderful player he is. But the one thing that comes out when he is talking to the players around him, one word I just keep hearing is repetition.
"Whether he is talking to his back rowers or Jake Friend or Tedesco, I just hear him repeating repetition and that is what he has built his game on."