Cronk wary of Lockyer effect before clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronk wary of Lockyer effect before clash

Melissa Woods 20/07/2011 02:36:16 PM Comments (0)

Cooper Cronk knows first-hand about the Darren Lockyer effect and expects Brisbane to ride their skipper's retirement wave deep into the NRL finals.

The Melbourne halfback is preparing for the Storm's biggest game of the season on Friday night against the Broncos at AAMI Park.

A sell-out crowd of around 30,000 is expected to watch Cronk's table-topping Storm host fourth-placed Brisbane.

Cronk was part of the Queensland State of Origin side which sent Lockyer out of representative football a winner earlier this month, crushing NSW in the third and deciding game of the series.

The crafty No.7 said the effect of Lockyer's farewell on a side shouldn't be underestimated.

"Don't count out the Brisbane Broncos with Darren Lockyer," said Cronk when asked which sides he thought were a real premiership chance.

"The emotion surrounding him and his last season can be something that can get a team over the line."

Speaking on the Storm Hour on SEN radio, he also nominated the other top four teams St George Illawarra and Manly as title possibilities.

While it's set to be Lockyer's last game in Melbourne, Cronk himself won't get caught up in any sentimentality.

He said that early in his career, a match against one of the Storm's major rivals would have been a calendar event but he now treated it like any other.

"For me now, it's more about being really consistent no matter who you play," Cronk said.

"I know it's a big game for the club in terms of first versus four, it's Friday night football in Melbourne and we've got the new jerseys (Melbourne have had a one-off "battle jersey" made up featuring a big white 'V' to represent Victoria).

"In reality, it's just another stepping stone to what is hopefully going to be a big back-end of the year for us.

"They're a good team in good form, so it's going to be a good test for us."

Former Storm prop Scott Anderson, who joined the Broncos in 2010, said he was a definite starter for the Friday night blockbuster after missing last round's win over the Titans.

Anderson suffered an asthma attack for the first time in about 15 years, but had recovered well.

The 25-year-old downplayed the emotion of Lockyer's final season.

"It's definitely special playing with Darren but he spoke to us at the start of the season and said he didn't want to make a big fuss out of it and just wanted to play good football and whatever comes at the end of the year comes."

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