Cooper Cronk was never blessed with the explosive pace of Billy Slater, nor the power and athleticism of Greg Inglis. He could never slice through a gap like Darren Lockyer, nor quite match the innate game IQ of Cameron Smith (spoiler alert: nobody can).
There wasn’t the fabled show-and-go of Thurston, either, yet there is one thing that binds all of them together. Cronk helped them all become champions of the game and in doing so, became a champion himself. He should rightly be remembered among the giants of the era and among the better halfbacks in history.
For some, the idea that you exist in a sporting sense to make others around you better is little more than a platitude. For Cronk, it was a lifestyle. When he took control of a game, such was the confidence that he would pull the right that everyone else could afford to think one step ahead.
Of course, Cronk has had his moments of individual brilliance. There was the series-winning field goal in the final game of ther 2012 Origin series, the first in which Cronk became a starter following Lockyer’s retirement.