Tag Archive: Cooper Cronk


Bellamy states spots are up for grabs

Craig Bellamy says spots are still up for grabs as the Storm flew to Brisbane today as they finalise preparations for Saturday night’s trial against the Broncos. Twenty-three players have been taken to Sydney for the clash, with skipper Cameron Smith and halfback Cooper Cronk set to play their first games of the pre-season. While Smith and Cronk are dead-set certainties for round one, Bellamy says he’s still unsure about the make-up of the team for round one against Manly on March 12. “It’s a really important game for us, we’re still settling on some combinations and there’s certainly some spots still open,” said Bellamy. “A few guys have got plenty to play for so hopefully we’ll get a dry track up there and we’re looking forward to it.” Both teams will field near full-strength teams, a signal both clubs are building towards the first game of the NRL season in a fortnight’s time. “They’ve won both of their trials and they’ve got a whole heap of good players in there,” said Bellamy. Continue reading

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Lockyer dons the Bronc for first time in 2011

Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer will wear the Broncos jersey for the first time in 2011 after being named in a strong side to meet Melbourne Storm in Saturday night’s NRL trial at Redcliffe. New Broncos coach Anthony Griffin on Wednesday named his first team two days after Ivan Henjak’s controversial dumping, and chose to rest four of his biggest forwards. While Brisbane’s backline will be at full strength against a strong Storm outfit, Queensland forwards Sam Thaiday and Ben Hannant, plus Nick Kenny and Mitchell Dodds have been rested. “We will give Sam and Ben a rest this weekend but they will be right for round one,” Griffin told the Broncos website. “Nick Kenny is the same, as is Mitchell Dodds. “This gives the other guys a chance to show what they can do. Continue reading

Widdop eyes vacant 5/8th position

Storm playmaker Gareth Widdop was one of the star performers in Saturday night’s 24-4 win over the Raiders in Bega, but he isn’t getting ahead of himself in the race for the number six jersey. Widdop set up Chase Stanley’s second try with a classy pass, and was involved in many of the Storm’s best moves on the night. Storm Head Coach Craig Bellamy admitted after last week’s trial Maurice Blair probably had the inside running the vacant five-eighth spot, but Widdop’s efforts against the Raiders has him back on level terms. Widdop knows he’s got a battle on his hands if he wants to be named in the team for Storm’s first NRL game of the year against the Sea Eagles at AAMI Park, but he is happy with his development over the pre-season. Continue reading

Justin Hodges made a successful return to action, but former Broncos team mate Antonio Winterstein is set to miss the start of the NRL season after suffering a broken jaw. Hodges set up a try with his first touch off the bench in the Broncos’ 26-4 trial win over the Cowboys in Alice Springs on Saturday night. “He got through a continuous 40 minutes and set up a try and there was no side affects from the injury, so I’m very happy with his involvement and getting through the game,” Broncos coach Ivan Henjak told AAP. It ended more than 500 days of NRL inactivity for the classy Broncos, Queensland and Australia centre, but Cowboys recruit Winterstein had far worse misfortune on the night. He went to hospital for scans just before halftime after suffering facial injuries in a sickening collision during a tackle. Continue reading

Slaters shoulder healing slower than expected

Melbourne are preparing to start their 2011 NRL season without star fullback Billy Slater, whose recovery from shoulder surgery is slower than expected. Slater will miss all of the Storm’s pre-season matches and coach Craig Bellamy said on Monday it was looking increasingly likely he wouldn’t play in their round one clash on March 12 against Manly. The Test custodian had an arthroscope on the right shoulder he injured in round 21 and carried through the post-season Four Nations tournament. He also needed ligaments reattached, which has led to limited training over summer. Slater has resumed running but the joint hasn’t progressed as quickly as expected. “It’s probably taking a little bit longer than we thought,” said Bellamy. “He’s still a chance for round one but we certainly won’t take any chances on him. Continue reading

This is a critical position for DT coaches so if you don’t score well here you are going to struggle to get a high 700 score and a win.  There are different combinations used by coaches through the year but the top 10 DT coaches at least Campese (49.00) and Soward (46.83) are the favoured two, featuring in all but three teams.  As for the NEX-Cup try and find a top team without Hodgkinson (42.35) but there is a real mix with the 2nd spot.

With my review of the halves I have used 45 as the bench mark score by now I think we would all be disappointed if our halves didn’t at least get that score each week.  Again the table below does tell the story and if you haven’t settled on you combination this might help you out.  

  GMS Ave Total Pts Tries  Goal MG TA KM Oth Lost Pts >= 45 % >= 45
Campese 18 49.00 882 68 80 378 345 96 -85 10 55.56%
Soward 18 46.83 843 130 90 179 474 57 -87 12 66.67%
Prince 13 45.77 595 86 46 194 268 73 -72 7 53.85%
Hodgkinson 17 42.35 720 12 65 432 234 54 -77 7 41.18%
Cronk 15 42.33 635 12 54 295 273 69 -68 5 33.33%
Sutton 18 40.22 724 12 115 340 205 132 -80 6 33.33%
Harrison 14 40.21 563 12 116 471 0 18 -54 5 35.71%
Carney 18 37.61 677 172 157 186 140 123 -101 5 27.78%
Maloney 17 36.88 627 130 83 292 236 41 -155 4 23.53%

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Cronk to play, Slater in doubt

Melbourne have welcomed back one star in Cooper Cronk but could lose another with fullback Billy Slater missing the flight to Sydney ahead of their NRL match against Penrith on Saturday. Cronk will play his first game of the season after undergoing groin surgery, while Slater missed the Storm’s final training session and their plane due to sinus problems. The Test fullback, who has a history of sinus problems, is booked on a morning flight on Saturday, however 21-year-old Gareth Widdop is on stand-by for his NRL debut should he fail to recover.
Meanwhile, the Panthers, who have started the season with one win and one loss, will start utility Luke Lewis at five-eighth after Travis Burns was ruled out with a knee injury. Former Test representative Trent Waterhouse will return from a quad injury in the second-row.

In-N-Out Round 3

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart has rung the changes in a bid to boost a toothless Sharks outfit looking to prevent a 13th successive NRL defeat against South Sydney on Monday. In what has turned into a must-win match for both sides, Stuart has wielded the axe on halfback Scott Porter, misfiring centre Ben Pomeroy and winger Isaac Gordon. Promising young playmaker Albert Kelly will make his first NRL start at fullback with Blake Ferguson restored to the wing. John Morris will move to halfback with Paul Aiton named as hooker with new signing Dean Collis to make his long-awaited debut in the centres.

Wests Tigers’ Lote Tuqiri will remain on the wing for his side’s clash with Parramatta on Friday after coach Tim Sheens opted to promote Mitch Brown to fullback with Tim Moltzen moving to halfback. Sheens was forced into the switch after Robert Lui was ruled out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury, and despite speculation Tuqiri would don the No.1 shirt, 22-year-old Brown has been given the nod.

Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson has rewarded Fuifui Moimoi for his excellent display off the bench against Manly last week, with a starting spot against Wests Tigers on Friday in his 100th NRL game. Moimoi replaces NSW prop Justin Poore who is dropped to the bench, with Krisnan Inu coming in for the injured Luke Burt, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

Newcastle second-rower Cameron Ciraldo will make his long-awaited return to action after a year out following the horrific injury he sustained in the 2009 round two clash against Cronulla. Ciraldo, who fractured his fibula and dislocated his ankle after his foot became wedged in a tackle, is named on the bench for the Knights’ clash with Manly at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.

Melbourne have named premiership-winning halfback Cooper Cronk as 18th man following off-season groin surgery for the Storm’s trip to Penrith on Saturday at CUA Stadium.

Panthers utility Luke Lewis will start at five-eighth for the home side after Travis Burns was ruled out with a knee injury.

Lowrie called up for Knights clash

Melbourne has made one change for Saturday night’s away clash with Newcastle, naming Todd Lowrie for his club debut in place of injured back-rower Ryan Hoffman. The dual premiership player, who missed the 2008 grand final after hurting his ankle late in the season, is expected to be sidelined for between four and six weeks after scans confirmed a grade two medial strain. Lowrie, however, is no certainty to line up as he continues his recovery from the groin strain he picked up in the World Club Challenge win over Leeds Rhinos a fortnight ago. The former Parramatta forward, who played against Melbourne in last year’s premiership decider, has been named for the second week in a row but a final decision on his fitness won’t be made until closer to the game. Rising star Kevin Proctor, who came into the starting line-up last week when Lowrie failed to come up, will start again this time in the No.12 jersey, with Ryan Tandy retaining his spot on the bench in the 17-man squad. Storm coach Craig Bellamy is still unable to consider Cooper Cronk (groin/hip), Brett White (shoulder), Sika Manu (broken leg), Chase Stanley (shoulder), Atelea Vea (back) or Sione Kite (shoulder) because of injury.

The Knights may welcome back hooker Isaac De Gois and centre Adam MacDougall after both missed last weekend’s upset win over the Bulldogs with knee injuries but inspirational skipper Kurt Gidley (hamstring) will sit out again and isn’t expected back until at least next week.Also certain to miss the match are James McManus (foot) and Ben Rogers (dislocated elbow) while Junior Sau (rib strain) and Marvin Karawana (knee) both suffered injuries last weekend and the club is waiting on the results of scans before confirming if either will be sidelined.

Inglis departing early for WCC

Greg Inglis ($193,000 CTW) will fly into London three days earlier in a bid to play in the World Cup Challenge against Leeds. Inglis has a hip complaint and will be required to play 20 minutes of a hit out against the Harlequins to prove he is fit enough to face Leeds. Storm football manager said “He is doing more running now, he didn’t play in the All-Stars game . . . and our physio wants him to come with us and keep working on him.” Prop Jeff Lima ($224,900 FRF) is suffering from leg tightness and may also be required to prove match fitness in the Harlequins hit out. The Storm will also be without injured forwards Brett White ($180,500 FRF), Sika Manu ($214,100 2RF) and also Halfback Cooper Cronk ($294,00 HLV). Anthony Quinn ($91,400 CTW) returned from a serious neck injury last season, against Brisbane in trials unscathed and seems almost certain to regain his position in the starting line up on the left wing. The right wing position seems to be up for grabs with newcomer Matt Duffie ($73,600 CTW) and 28 year old speedster Luke MacDougall (Not Listed) set to fight it out to partner Dane Nielsen ($148,600 CTW) who looks to be moving back into the centres.