@jirskyr said in The possible non-greatness of Cooper Cronk:
@Cultured_Bogan said in The possible non-greatness of Cooper Cronk:
In those terms, you can make that argument for any player.
Yes and no. In terms of Johns, the question is - do you think Knights could have won the comp if Joey didn’t play for them? Who are the players that teams cannot do without? Who are the players that dominate, not just compete, at all levels? Those are the Immortals.
When it comes to Cronk, I think all his teams could manage without him. There’s no doubt he’s a very good footballer and especially in the area of game management / team organisation, apart from Thurston, he probably hasn’t had an equal for a decade. He is a real clutch player in terms of finding the right pass or kick. But he was never cutting teams apart, never a real weapon with the football or a specific headache for opponents to nullify. Rather, he has always been a high-level gritty footballer, competing on every play with a cool head and minimal mistakes.
Thurston, on the other hand, propelled what became a reasonable Cowboys outfit to the finals; when he joined from Canterbury they had a horrendous record. And then based on Thurston’s excellence, Cowboys were able to flesh-out their roster, because players were keen to sign on with him. That adds to Thurston’s legacy in my opinion.
The same cannot be said about Cronk; at both Storm and Roosters he came into what was already a very successful operation, with a prominent roster. His debut match for the Storm in 2004, their side was: Slater, Geyer, Bell, MacDougall, Dustin Cooper, Hill, Orford, Kearns, Cam Smith, Kearney, Kidwell, Dallas Johnson, Hoffman, Howe, Danny Williams, Reynoldson, Cronk. Slater and Smith had already played a full season; 4 of the players had played in the 1999 premiership.
Cronk will undoubtedly become a Hall Of Fame player and almost certainly not an Immortal. I think he is probably the weakest of the top-tier footballers that made their careers at Melbourne - behind Smith, Slater, Inglis, Folau. I’d even say Munster, at this stage in his career, is a superior footballer to any time in Cronk’s career. I think Keary, Latrell and Tedesco outshine Cronk at the Roosters now.
I guess you look at it in the availability of other premiership winning halves in the comp at the time. Would Sticky, Alfie, Toovey, Kimmorley have taken the Knights to premiership glory? You could argue yes because they did with their clubs. Would any of those thrown that pass to Darren Albert? Quite possibly, but alas we’ll never know.
Another thought I have is what constitutes a great? Do they absolutely have to have the X-factor, is it mutually exclusive? Can being only a ridiculously solid player who will always put the kick in the right spot or throw the right pass almost without fail and absolute precision preclude you from being a great? Because I don’t consider Cameron Smith to possess an X-factor as such either (I am of the belief that Cronk is a no-frills footballer.) For mine I believe him to be an extremely reliable and regimented footballer who can read the game and execute extremely well 99.9% of the time and yet well all know he will be an Immortal.
It’s also no surprise that Slater and Smith came on before Cronk. Prior to the former they had Richard Swain and a mixed bag of fullbacks. Hill and Orford were well established at that point so I can understand why Cronk came on later.
I don’t mean to be coming across as argumentative as you make some very good points, I feel that they can be openly applied as well. I agree that Cronk has enjoyed a wonderful career as a result of the teams he has played in, they’ve both been littered with stars, and as a result we cannot assess how he fared in a battler side. I absolutely believe had he played at Wests we would have been a much better team for it though. Would he have won us a premiership? Maybe not. But would we have spent 7 sevens in the bottom 8? I can reason that would be doubtful.
Lastly, I am not interested in the Cronk vs. Brooks comparison like others have been. I did say that I would have taken Cronk if he were on offer in a heartbeat. I don’t believe this should be a thread to drive the notion that Brooks is (not) an adequate halfback for us.