Melbourne star Cooper Cronk admits rugby league would be the winner if Cronulla end their premiership drought in Sunday’s NRL grand final.
The Storm halfback conceded that the Sharks’ storied chase for an elusive trophy is the storyline of the week, but embraced his team’s role as fairytale squashers.
“We’re from interstate and Cronulla haven’t been there for a long period of time, so they’ll have the majority of the sport (behind them), which is great,” Cronk said on Monday.
“Rugby league needs to be the winner in this scenario.
“But hopefully Melbourne Storm and the people in the purple jerseys can finish the game with a smile on their face knowing that we’ve played really well and got the result that we all wanted.”
While the Storm have two official titles in their 19-year existence, long-suffering Sharks have yet to witness their club lift the Provan-Summons trophy since their inception in 1967.
However Storm captain Cameron Smith doesn’t expect the pressure to squeeze the life out of their opposition during the long build-up to the decider at ANZ Stadium.
“They’ll be fine. If it was going to affect them, it would’ve affected them through the first few finals to start with,” Smith said.
“They’ve got great leaders in their club in (Michael) Ennis and (Paul Gallen).
“Wade Graham’s there as well, Andrew Fifita, and they’ve got exciting young players who play a confident style of footy.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any pressure on those guys at all. They’ll just go out and play like they’ve played all year.”
Cronk also conceded that the Sharks were the best team they had played in a season where they split their two matches, including the Storm’s minor premiership-clinching win in round 26.
“You can try and dissect and analyse those games as much as possible, but it’ll come down to whoever executes their game plan the best on Sunday,” he said.