https://www.theage.com.au/sport/nrl/i-v ... 4z1hf.html
'I've never been happier': Cronk crows about Roosters
Cooper Cronk accepts that the Sydney Roosters may not immediately gel with the star-studded additions of him and James Tedesco but has left no doubt about how well he has fitted in at the tri-colours, saying he has never been happier both personally and professionally.
After weeks of speculation late last year about him continuing his career in Sydney, then his high-profile signing by the competition heavyweights, Cronk will finally run out as a Rooster for the first time on Saturday night in a trial against Manly at Gosford.
With the acquisition of the World Cup-winning halfback and State of Origin fullback Tedesco it is little wonder that Trent Robinson's men are premiership favourites, slightly more favoured than Cronk's alma mater, Melbourne, and the Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan-led juggernaut at North Queensland.
High expectations are not exactly new to Cronk, however, and he enters his first outing in the NRL in colours other than the Storm's believing the Roosters have got the miles in the legs to live up to their lofty ambitions.
"There might be some cohesion issues in the first part of the year but it won't be an excuse," Cronk said at the club's season launch.
"We'll roll the sleeves up, we'll get some hard work done and hopefully we'll hit the ground running not only this weekend but at the start of the year."
Cronk was always coming to Sydney to live closer to his fiancee Tara Rushton, who he has since married and with whom he is expecting his first child. The question was only whether he would retire to a career in television, business or both, or tackle another pre-season and continue on with what he does best.
What is clear as round one draws closer is that after opting for a 15th and 16th season in the NRL by signing a two-year contract with the Roosters, he has never looked back.
"I've never been happier and life's really enjoyable," he said, speaking to club legend Anthony Minichiello as the Roosters launched their campaign on Thursday night.
"Obviously on a personal front there's been a few things like getting married. But professionally it's been unreal as well. Hopefully that sets up for a pretty exciting and happy 2018."
Having won multiple grand finals with the Storm, not to mention his decorated career with Queensland and Australia, the 34-year-old has little left to prove but is not one to rely on reputation alone.
It is an outlook, engineered by years of utter professionalism under the watch of Craig Bellamy, that has aligned well with the high standards set by Robinson.
"The [Roosters] group from the outside looking in, it's always been a proud club that works hard," Cronk said.
"But once you sort of get into the nitty gritty things ... they love the hard work, they never shy away from their responsibilities. Monday to Friday is a grind, and it's really hard. But the whole idea of having a good season is having a tremendous pre-season.
"To date I think we've done that. Let's hope we can go out on the weekend and iron out some of the cobwebs.
"Hopefully I can stay out of the way of chaos this weekend with the big boppers from Manly, but other than that I'm really looking forward to making some tackles, getting tackled and hopefully working on those combinations."