Infotainment Factory: Cronk's curious call on Smith relationship

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Sunday, 21 April 2019

Cronk's curious call on Smith relationship


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Cooper Cronk claims his relationship with Cameron Smith has never been better, though he has avoided referring to his former Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Kangaroos teammate as a friend.

Amid widespread reports of a feud between the two NRL champions, Cronk spoke to The Daily Telegraph about Smith and kept his praise confined to football.

“As a footy player, I respect him immensely,” Cronk said.

“From my position, I don’t think we have ever been in a better position. It is the way it is. I respect him as a footy player.

“He has contributed to my career, the things that I have achieved, more than most. And the thing he has done for rugby league in general I tip my hat to him, because he is about to break a record that no one has ever considered breaking before in playing 400 games.

“The guy is an ornament to the game.”

The Telegraph reported that Cronk reiterated the respect that he had for Smith “as a footy player” when asked about their friendship.

The friendship between Cronk and Smith reportedly soured when Cronk left Melbourne to join the Roosters, having decided to relocate to Sydney to be closer to wife Tara Rushton's broadcasting work with FOX Sports. Smith did not attend Cronk and Rushton's wedding in December 2017.

Cronk and Smith shared only a handshake when they first clashed on the field mid-last season; Cronk hugged many of his other old Storm teammates.

The pair then shared a moment during the grand final, won by the Roosters, when Smith hit Cronk with a forceful tackle after a general-play kick, prompting Cronk to grab him by the neck.

Fellow ex-Storm teammates have said that Cronk and Smith were never best mates, but certainly enjoyed a friendship in the past off the back of their unprecedented success for club, state and country.

Cronk is expected to retire after this season, while Smith - set to become the first man to reach 400 games - is signed with Melbourne until the end of next year.

Cooper Cronk claims his relationship with Cameron Smith has never been better, though he has avoided referring to his former Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Kangaroos teammate as a friend.

Amid widespread reports of a feud between the two NRL champions, Cronk spoke to The Daily Telegraph about Smith and kept his praise confined to football.

“As a footy player, I respect him immensely,” Cronk said.

“From my position, I don’t think we have ever been in a better position. It is the way it is. I respect him as a footy player.

“He has contributed to my career, the things that I have achieved, more than most. And the thing he has done for rugby league in general I tip my hat to him, because he is about to break a record that no one has ever considered breaking before in playing 400 games.

“The guy is an ornament to the game.”

The Telegraph reported that Cronk reiterated the respect that he had for Smith “as a footy player” when asked about their friendship.

The friendship between Cronk and Smith reportedly soured when Cronk left Melbourne to join the Roosters, having decided to relocate to Sydney to be closer to wife Tara Rushton's broadcasting work with FOX Sports. Smith did not attend Cronk and Rushton's wedding in December 2017.

Cronk and Smith shared only a handshake when they first clashed on the field mid-last season; Cronk hugged many of his other old Storm teammates.

The pair then shared a moment during the grand final, won by the Roosters, when Smith hit Cronk with a forceful tackle after a general-play kick, prompting Cronk to grab him by the neck.

Fellow ex-Storm teammates have said that Cronk and Smith were never best mates, but certainly enjoyed a friendship in the past off the back of their unprecedented success for club, state and country.

Cronk is expected to retire after this season, while Smith - set to become the first man to reach 400 games - is signed with Melbourne until the end of next year.

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