Cronk at his best: Bellamy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronk at his best: Bellamy

Melissa Woods 23/03/2011 05:34:53 PM Comments (0)

Storm halfback Cooper Cronk is at the peak of his powers according to Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy.

Cronk passed his first State of Origin trial with flying colours but his next is an even tougher proposition.

Cronk was the clear winner in a head-to-head showdown against fellow Maroons contender Scott Prince in Melbourne's crushing victory over the Titans last round.

Next Monday night he will line up against the Cowboys' Johnathan Thurston, the man with the mortgage on the Queensland No.7 jersey since 2005, which has relegated Cronk to a utility role.

However, Cronk has a claim on the Test jumper, having played there during last year's Anzac Test and during the Four Nations at the end of the season, when Thurston was injured.

Bellamy said Cronk, who orchestrated two tries and scored one of his own in Melbourne's 40-12 romp, was up for the challenge.

"Cooper is one of the best competitors I've ever had anything to do with," Bellamy said.

"He's certainly led from the front in the first two games and it's great to see him in a good head space now, it's great to see him playing like that."

He said he'd never seen 27-year-old Cronk, who made his Storm debut in 2004, in better shape.

"I don't think he's ever been fitter than he has this year, which is a little bit surprising," Bellamy said.

"He's always been a good trainer, but it's just as though he's gone a little harder this year."

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