Cooper Cronk says the recruitment of NRL outcast Blake Green to Melbourne has been a key to their rise back to the top of the NRL tree.
After bowing out in week one of the finals last year the Storm are one game away from another grand final, and Test halfback Cronk said Green had played a major hand in that.
With the Storm facing North Queensland in a preliminary final at AAMI Park on Saturday night, the recruitment of 29-year-old Green this season now appears a master-stroke by coach Craig Bellamy.
Green was unable to secure a regular first-grade gig at the Eels, Sharks and Bulldogs and moved his league career to England in 2011.
He starred in Wigan’s 2013 Super League grand final triumph over Warrington, scoring a crucial try after being knocked out early in the game.
Green returned to the NRL this year confident and composed, qualities Cronk said the Storm needed in a No.6 and had struggled to find following the departure of Gareth Widdop to the Dragons.
“A lot of people analyse halves in terms of big plays and setting up tries and he’s done that consistently, but one of the things you need is temperament and Blake’s got great composure,” Cronk said.
“His personality is quite chilled out and relaxed and I think that’s been really positive for our football team.”
Cronk said Green’s presence was especially important with inexperienced duo Kurt Mann and Marika Koroibete playing outside him in their first preliminary final.
“In particular that left edge where he’s got a couple of inexperienced guys around him; they feed off his confidence and temperament in high pressure situations.”