Some athletes and many Australians manifest affectations of humility, the sort of things that in some places might be reflected by the phrase, “Ah, shucks, tweren’t nothin’.”
It is better than the polar opposite, which is some potential great affecting the trappings of success ahead of schedule.
Cooper Cronk belongs to the first group and is dealing with the inevitable queries that go along with his reality that he will play his last NRL game in Saturday’s Grand Final.
We would place him at or near the top of any list anyone would care to compile with regard to football, if for nothing else than having the greatest name conceivable for a rugby player.
The accolades are not limited to that alone.
When he runs out for Sydney to face Canberra at ANZ Stadium in the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition Grand Final, he will finish with a remarkable record of achievements.
It will be his ninth Grand Final. Only two others, Norm Provan and Brian Clay have made it to more, in this instance 10, and those two played back in the 50s and 60s.
There is some degree of luck in making it to Grand Finals, something that Cronk would readily acknowledge, but there is less luck involved in playing 372 games over 16 seasons.
As the lottery promoters are wont to say, “You cannot win if you do not play.”
Cronk left Melbourne with a premiership in 2017 and found himself in Sydney, where the Roosters supplied him with a brace. If the bookies and the experts have it right this time, he will soon find himself with a third consecutive premiership, something that has not been done since the early 80s.
Cronk espouses the Standing On The Shoulders of Giants view, saying simply of his noteworthy predecessors, “Those guys are pioneers of football.”