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Cooper Cronk’s career in rugby league nearly didn’t make it past the first pre-season.

The man who would become one of the great playmakers of the modern era arrived in Melbourne in 2003 as a 19-year-old in search of an opportunity.

What he was confronted with was a Craig Bellamy pre-season, something Cronk admits he was not ready for.

“I thought it was too hard, I didn’t think I was cut out for it,” Cronk said.

“I didn’t have the best pre-season, was sent back to Brisbane Norths and to sum it up I spat the dummy a little bit.”

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At that point Cronk could not have been further away from the 300-game milestone he will reach this Saturday night.

However it was in that moment that the ultimate professional kicked in.

“Things turned and I started playing decent, got another opportunity through Craig and that pre-season leading into 2004 I didn’t stop training,” Cronk said.

“I thought if I had a poor pre-season again that was basically the end of my footy career.

“So I worked really hard and the world’s aligned, got an opportunity and as I say they say the rest is history.”

It sure is. 299 games, 12 Finals Series, Five grand finals, a Dally M medal and a Clive Churchill Medal does not make for a bad list of accomplishments.

That is before you even begin to consider what he has achieved on the representative stage.

He has played 28 games for Australia including a World Cup win and six State of Origin triumphs in seven years with Queensland.

There is no doubt the No.7 has come a long way in 14 years and Storm fans have loved every minute of it.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.