Cronk off Storm's crock list - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronk off Storm's crock list

By David Beniuk 21/03/2010 03:11:01 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk could make his return in next week's NRL clash at Penrith, but the Storm see no need to rush him back with Cameron Smith finding his feet as a makeshift No.7.

Cronk had surgery on his groin after last year's Four Nations tournament and is on track to return at CUA Stadium but Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says, after wins in the World Club Challenge and the opening two rounds of the NRL, the premiers can afford to wait another week.

"He's back into full training at the moment but because of the length of time he's had out and doing just rehab, the medical staff are slowly building his workload up," Bellamy said.

"I think it's more likely that he'll play the week after but he's certainly a chance of playing next week.

"He's missed our World Club Challenge game and these two games and we've won all them so there's no need to rush him back if he's not quite ready so we're not going to take any chances with him."

Captain Smith had an impressive game at halfback in Saturday night's 20-14 come-from-behind win over Newcastle after attracting criticism in the previous week's uninspiring win over Cronulla.

"I said to the coaches after the (Cronulla) game last week that I thought I needed to be more involved as a seven," he said.

"It's not my usual position but I knew I had to do a lot more ... I needed to do a normal halfback's role.

"So I knew early on I needed to get he ball in my hand and have a run and take the ball to the line with all the boys."

The Storm got out of jail against the Knights after going down 14-0 in the first half and having their line hammered for much of the second.

With Cronk and big name forwards Brett White, Ryan Hoffman (both shoulder) and Sika Manu (leg) all sidelined, Smith issued an early-season warning from the premiers, who are attempting to become the first side to win an NRL title on top of the World Club Challenge.

"We're always confident in our own side that no matter where we are on the field or the scoreline we can always win," he said.

Bellamy said he wasn't worrying himself with who was on the sidelines.

"Hopefully it won't be too long and White will be back, hopefully it won't be too long and Hoffman's back," he said.

"If we start sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves that ain't going to help us.

"we've just got to make sure that the other guys are aware of what their responsibilities are and go out there and give their best and that's all we can ask.

"It will be nice when those guys are back but the other guys are doing a good job for us at the moment."

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