Cooper Cronk will match a 44-year-old record should he and the Roosters triumph. Picture: Getty
Cooper Cronk will match a 44-year-old record should he and the Roosters triumph. Picture: Getty

Cronk's incredible 44-year first

Johnny Mayes reckons there is no player more suitable to join him in the record books than Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk.

Mayes has been joined by Cronk as the only players in league history to win three straight premierships at two different clubs.

He won his first title with Manly in 1973 before claiming consecutive grand final wins with the Roosters in 1974 and 1975.

 

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Cooper Cronk led the Roosters to grand final glory 12 months ago with a busted shoulder. Picture: Getty
Cooper Cronk led the Roosters to grand final glory 12 months ago with a busted shoulder. Picture: Getty

44 years on, Cronk emulated Mayes when his Roosters beat Canberra in Sunday's NRL decider.

A third straight title was a fitting way for the Brisbane-born halfback to finish his stellar career.

Mayes was cheering hard for Cronk to win having personally met the star No.7 at a Kangaroos reunion in 2017 and at last year's Roosters premiership parade.

"Cooper is a champion and last year's grand final proved it when he played with a busted shoulder," Mayes told The Sunday Telegraph.

 

Johnny Mayes dives over to score a try during Easts premiership win in 1975 against St George.
Johnny Mayes dives over to score a try during Easts premiership win in 1975 against St George.

"It was an amazing effort to play wounded like that and usher his side around even though he couldn't do a lot.

"He was involved in a couple of tackles and they must have really hurt but he performed on grand final night magnificently.

"Cooper is a terrific fella. I went to the fan day with my grandson and I got to meet him and Trent Robinson and I was very impressed.

"I also met Cooper at the Kangaroo reunion in 2017 - the year before he joined the Roosters and I sat with him for a while."

 

Cooper Cronk (left) will retire after Sunday’s decider. Picture: AAP
Cooper Cronk (left) will retire after Sunday’s decider. Picture: AAP

During his chats with Cronk, Mayes discovered he has a personal connection with the gun half's family.

"Cooper told me about his cousins in Bondi," he said.

"I knew of the Cronks. My younger brother was a friend of Cooper's cousin, so we had a bit in common there.

"Cooper is such a good player because of his determination and the fact he listens."

Mayes is equally impressed with Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who has transformed the club's culture during his seven years at Bondi to date.

Trent Robinson is turning into a modern day great as he eyes a third title with the Roosters. Picture: Getty
Trent Robinson is turning into a modern day great as he eyes a third title with the Roosters. Picture: Getty

Robinson will join legendary former Easts mentor Jack Gibson on three premierships.

Mayes believes this is a fitting reward for the current Roosters coach.

"Robinson and Gibson share similar qualities even though they are two different people," he said.

"I was very fortunate to be coached by Jack twice. I had him as a young fella in 68 and then I came back to him at the Roosters.

"He had this great way of delivering a message.

"He had a terrific presence and an ability to say a lot in very few words.

"Word economy was one of his greatest assets.

"Robinson has also been fantastic and incredible for the Roosters.

"They both have the ability to get involved with people and they know the game."