Retired NRL superstar Cronk helping AFL’s GWS move on from grand final loss

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Former rugby league superstar Cooper Cronk has already established a great rapport with players at AFL club GWS, after being appointed as their leadership consultant.

Recently-retired Cronk linked up with the Giants after winning NRL grand finals in each of his final three seasons – with Melbourne in 2017 and then back-to- back with the Sydney Roosters.

Winning feeling: Cooper Cronk after winning the 2019 NRL premiership with the Roosters.Credit:Getty

His expertise in winning premierships will be invaluable for the Giants who were embarrassed in last year’s AFL grand final, smashed 17.12 (114) to 3.7 (25) by Richmond.

“He’s built a great relationships already in such a short period of time but I didn’t expect anything less after meeting him throughout the year last year and thinking he’d be a great fit for our footy club,” GWS coach Leon Cameron said. “He does a lot of work with Cogs [captain Stephen Coniglio] and the [other five] leaders.

“He does some work with our young leaders as well and also spends time with some of ours guys that are closer to their thirties.

“[Phil] Davis and [Callan] Ward, who were the captains, he’ll spend time with those boys as well. We feel as though he’s going to add a lot of value in terms of experience.”

A dejected Phil Davis of the Giants (second from left) during the presentations after the 2019 AFL grand final.Credit:Scott Barbour

In a pleasant contrast to their recent injury-ravaged seasons, the vast majority of GWS players are on track to participate in at least one of their two pre- season games.

Former co-captain Ward is the only regular senior player who won’t have a run before the AFL season commences.

Ward, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in round,four last year is on track to make his return through the NEAFL in either round two or three.

The only other players ruled out of the pre-season games are midfielder Tom Sheridan, who is still overcoming the calf issues which limited him to a single senior game in his first season with GWS last year, and young ruckman Matthew Flynn, who is recovering from a knee reconstruction.

Speedster Zac Williams is scheduled to play the second pre-season game after suffering some achilles tendonitis.

Cameron is unconcerned by the external speculation that will inevitably surround Williams and Jeremy Cameron until they decide whether to stay at the club beyond this season.

“Jeremy has had a great pre-season, I see Zac is happy within himself,” Cameron said.

“There’s always going to be speculation until someone signs, it’s just the landscape, it doesn’t worry me.”

AAP

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