Robinson declares Cronk ready to rumble in UK
Cooper Cronk will pull on a Sydney Roosters jumper next weekend for the first time since his grand final heroics, with coach Trent Robinson declaring: "He's strong, he's fast, he's ready."
Cronk has been named in the Roosters' World Club Challenge side to play Wigan four-and-a-half months after being thrust into rugby league folklore by playing last year's grand final with a 15cm fracture in his scapula.
The star halfback has recovered fully from off-season surgery and will now contest the WCC before attempting to push the Roosters to historic back-to-back victories.
"He is ready to go now. His shoulder is good, he's strong, he's fast, he's in good shape. And then there is still time to get better before the NRL season starts," Robinson told The Daily Telegraph.
"He had an extended period of time off until January. He is a professional so he did some stuff on his own getting ready.
"Cooper has built well over the last five weeks. He has got 15 plus of pre-seasons under his belt so he is ready to go.
"It (the grand final) was one of the biggest contributions in a game on the biggest stage that there has ever been in the history of our sport. And I don't think I'm one for overstating stuff but that's the reality.
"It was a feat to show what we're capable of. That was rugby league at its finest on that day."
"(Whether he plays next season) is his choice. He is a strong man, he knows himself and he will make the right decision for him at the right time. We haven't discussed it and we won't for a while."
Robinson hid Cronk magnificently in defence, shifting him side-to-side to confuse a perplexed Melbourne defence.
The coach however has refused to take any personal credit and admitted he was still "hungry" to further learn and improve.
"I look at pride in the year that we had and the way we developed throughout the year, and us as coaches. I'm really proud about where we got the club to but also hungry for more and hungry to continue to get better as a coach," Robinson said.
"Life gets lots of different things being thrown up and we get lucky to be tested often. Those rewards are few and far between but they are pretty special when they come along."
The Roosters left for France on Saturday night ahead of the World Club Challenge, to be played in England on Sunday, early Monday in Australia.
Robinson's team will train against Toulouse in Paris on Wednesday before heading to England on Thursday morning to train against St Helens on Friday.
Saints coach Justin Holbrook is a former Rooster.
"We have prepared well for the NRL season but we are very committed to playing the World Club Challenge and playing well. We believe we can do both well,' Robinson said.
"The world of rugby league is big and small depending on how you look at it. I love the Super League's style of footy. That's where I cut my teeth as a coach. I really want to respect French rugby league and English rugby league and do it well."
Robinson was reluctant to discuss his side's chances of going back-to-back in 2019.
"I'm not really going to go into that stuff," he said. "I'm more focused on one step at a time. I have focused on the planning but the big conversations about that, it's not the time for it."
The Roosters have taken a 23-man squad to England which includes recruits Brett Morris and Angus Crichton. Centre Latrell Mitchell has opted to represent the Indigenous All Stars rather than contest the WCC.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 23-MAN SQUAD TO FACE WIGAN
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