Cronk leaves Sheens Blue with envy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronk leaves Sheens Blue with envy

By Steve Jancetic 07/11/2009 01:45:36 PM Comments (0)

Watching Cooper Cronk strut his stuff with the Australian side this week, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens can only shake his head.

"I wish he was a New South Welshman," Sheens says of the Melbourne premiership-winning halfback.

It's not that Sheens has a thing against Queenslanders, it's just that the veteran mentor would love to see Cronk get a crack at playing State of Origin football.

For now the proud northerner is stuck behind undisputed No.1 Johnathan Thurston and Gold Coast playmaker Scott Prince in the pecking order for Maroons halfbacks.

Compare that to the relative dearth of quality No.7 at NSW's disposal - a fact highlighted by the recall of veteran Brett Kimmorley for this dead rubber in Brisbane for what was the only game the Blues won in the series.

Typifying the Queensland spirit, Cronk said there was no way he would want the opportunity to pull on a sky blue jumper, though his inclusion in the Kangaroos Four Nations squad ahead of Prince may be an indication that he is closing the gap for the Maroons.

Queensland selectors however are notorious for showing faith in those who have done the job for them in the past, meaning if push came to shove, Prince could still be the man to get the nod should Thurston be injured or fall from favour.

And time is not on Cronk's side either, the Storm playmaker turning 26 later this year, which is the same age as Thurston and only three years younger than Prince.

"It's a shame for a kid like him that he's stuck behind Thurston and Princey who are both very good players," Sheens said.

"I think Cooper's day in the sun will come, but at the end of the day, it is unfortunate that the rules don't allow a kid like him to get a game at that level.

"It's not the rules though, it's the numbers that have beaten him really."

"It's disappointing he's not a New South Welshman."

Ironically, it could be Sheen's experiment with Cronk as a super-sub off the bench against France in the Four Nations tournament which helps bring him closer to a first Origin jumper.

It is a role Brisbane fullback Karmichael Hunt has filled over the last few seasons, but with Hunt having switched codes to pursue a career in AFL, the utility spot on the Queensland bench is there for the taking.

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