When Brodie Croft walked into Storm HQ for Day 1 of pre-season training he knew things had changed.

On a locker that for 14 years had branded one particular name on it, there was instead the name ‘Brodie Croft’.

He had spent most of his first two years in Melbourne soaking up all the lessons of the Cooper Cronk masterclass - now he had graduated.

“It was pretty special actually,” Croft said.

“On the first day of pre-season I came in and I had been given his locker that he has sat in for the last 14 years. That took a bit of getting used to, I felt like I was sitting in his locker.

“The boys have been good about telling me that I’ve got to make that locker my own now and go from there.”

On Saturday night Croft will run onto Perth Stadium for Round 1 wearing the No.7 Storm jersey that he has worked so relentlessly to earn.

Although the comparisons will be impossible to avoid, the 20-year-old is his own man, with his own strengths.

Cronk told him as such at the end of last year.

On Saturday night Croft will run onto Perth Stadium for Round 1 wearing the No.7 Storm jersey that he has worked so relentlessly to earn.

“When he left we sat down and spoke about it all. He was really good about it and wished me all the best,” Croft said.

“He put a lot of confidence in me as well just saying that he believed in me and he believed that I was ready for it now.

“That certainly gives me confidence going out there at the start of this season. 

“It is different not having him around but I feel like I’ve learned a lot from him that I can now go out and do it myself.”