Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith will go at it again. (Brett Costello)
Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith will go at it again. (Brett Costello)

Smith-Cronk rematch for Good Friday belter

COOPER Cronk will make an emotional return to AAMI Park for the first time since walking out on the Melbourne Storm as part of a blockbuster Easter weekend of rugby league in 2019.

The NRL has scheduled its Roosters v Storm grand final rematch for Good Friday, April 19, on a day that will also feature traditional Easter rivals South Sydney and Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.

The spectacular holiday weekend of football will also include the very first rugby league game at the new Western Sydney Stadium on the Monday afternoon between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers that is expected to sell out within days of tickets going on sale.

The 2019 NRL draw will to be released at 11am Thursday.


Cronk's departure from Storm to the Roosters, that caused the bitter falling out with his former Storm, Maroons and Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith, will no doubt fill AAMI Park.

The grand final replay will follow the Rabbitohs v Bulldogs game as part of a blockbuster Fox Sports TV double-header.

"That's an awesome result for our club," Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said when informed of the Good Friday schedule.

"I'm sure they'll rock up in good numbers to see 'Coops' again. The good guys normally get a good reception when they return home but this might be a bit different after the grand final."

Melbourne might not welcome Cronk home again. (Brett Costello)
Melbourne might not welcome Cronk home again. (Brett Costello)

Cronk has surgery last week on his broken shoulder blade that he took into the grand final.

Surgeons inserted a 12cm plate.

He will undergo three months of physiotherapy and is expected to be ready to play in the trials or round one next season.

The Roosters v Storm game was played in Adelaide last year where Smith and Cronk barely even acknowledged each other after the match.

Their public falling out became one of the big stories of the season.

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