Cronk Rumours No Distraction For Storm
Amidst rumours star halfback Cooper Cronk could retire as early as the end of the season, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy insists will his side will be solely focused on their match-up against the Warriors in New Zealand on Friday night.
"I don't know anything about that, I haven't spoken to Cooper about it," Bellamy said.
"I imagine if Cooper's got something to tell me, he'll come and tell me when he's ready.
"At the moment, we're not concerned about it. We're concerned about training and our game on Friday.
"If there's any fact or truth about it, he's done a wonderful job for this club for a long period of time. Whatever he'd like to do, I'd imagine that's what he'll do, [and] it'll be with the club's blessing."
Ryley Jacks was awarded for his strong debut in the Storm's gritty 12-6 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs with another selection in the halves alongside Cronk this week.
After a tough initiation in front of a hostile Belmore crowd, Jacks' start to his NRL career doesn't get any easier at an intimidating Mt Smart Venue in Auckland.
While Jacks will be better for last week's experience, he won't have the adrenaline of his debut to carry him through the 80-minute challenge this week.
"Sometimes [the second match] it's a bit of a let-down," Bellamy said. "It's something he needs to be aware of. You get all excited for your first game then it's 'oh yeah, I'm a bit tired now, might be a bit tougher today'.
"He's not a young debutant by any means but the reason he started wasn't so much that he plays five-eighth – he competes pretty hard. He does things he doesn't have to do in a game and that's him working really hard, being very competitive and trying to help his teammates. That's the reason we put him in and he didn't let us down last Friday night."
In further team selection news, Will Chambers escaped suspension for his contrary conduct charge, accepting a match fine, along with further good news of Jesse Bromwich and Billy Slater's imminent return to first grade.
Bromwich's thumb injury isn't as serious as first thought after he immediately came off in the first half of last week's win, with the Storm's medical staff announcing he's due back in two weeks.
As for Slater, Bellamy promised the Storm will not be taking any chances with their superstar but that he would return soon.
"He could be [back next week], or the week after, or the week after, or the week after that," Bellamy said.
"We want to be 100 per cent sure. We're really keen to have him back in and he's really keen to get back in. We have to make sure he's back in right time."
This article first appeared on NRL.com