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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.