Cronk fights for Storm halfback jersey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronk fights for Storm halfback jersey

11/02/2006 08:39:09 PM Comments (0)

Cooper Cronk scored two tries in Melbourne's 38-18 victory over Parramatta in a trial match in Ballina, sending a clear message he wants to make the No.7 jersey his own.

Amid increasing speculation the Storm plan to recruit sacked Penrith skipper Craig Gower, Cronk was instrumental in guiding his team to a comprehensive seven tries to three win over the 2005 minor premiers.

The 22-year-old Cronk was initially slated to replace Manly key signing Matt Orford but there is renewed talk the Panthers will release Gower from his $2 million five-year contract, freeing the Test half to join the Storm.

Gower is reportedly disillusioned about issues relating to his punishment from the Panthers following an alcohol-fuelled weekend on the Sunshine Coast in December.

He was fined $30,000 and stripped of the captaincy.

Both the Eels and Melbourne fielded close to full-strength teams in balmy conditions at Ballina's Kingsford Smith Park.

Melbourne led 16-12 at halftime before Cronk's tries in the 45th and 54th minutes blew out his side's lead to 28-12 in a trial played over 20 minute quarters.

Former Queensland centre Chris Walker scored his first try for his new club in the 68th minute to hand the Storm a 34-12 lead.

Jarryd Hayne scored a consolation try for the Eels in the 72nd minute but Billy Slater completed the rout with his second try at the death.

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