Cooper Cronk, one of the game’s great half-backs, is a big fan of the Trbojevic brothers and the impact they have already made in the NRL.
Manly Sea Eagles Media Manager Wayne Cousins sat down with Cronk – the Australian half-back - to talk about Jake and Tom Trbojevic as he prepares to play alongside them in the Rugby League World Cup.
Cronk lines up alongside Jake in Australia’s opening World Cup match against England this Friday night in Melbourne.
Wayne: How do you find playing against Jake and Tom?
Cooper: They are two physically, gifted and talented players who provide a lot of questions, concerns, and anxiety for opposition teams. At Melbourne, I always knew when the opposition had some really good players in it because (Coach) Craig Bellamy would show about 20 individual clips of the danger players. Whenever Melbourne focused on the forwards at Manly, Jake’s name had 20 clips. When you focused on the backs, Tom maybe had 25 clips.
Wayne: Many experts are full of praise for Jake’s tackling technique. How do you rate it?
Cooper: He has a very good technique. On the Four Nations tournament last year, we called Jake the ‘Mini Axe’ because (Assistant Coach) Trevor ‘The Axe’ Gillmeister was doing tackling sessions, and Jake was the favourite son because of his technique (laughs). You can see Jake is obviously a young man who cares about his footy club. He has a skills set that can take him as far as his work ethics are willing to take him. At his age, doing the things he has done, he has got a very bright future.
Wayne: You have played with a great full-back in Billy Slater, who certainly has his own elusive running style. How do you rate the style of Tom Trbojevic?
Cooper: I just say it is athletic. All the guys who you would say are awkward or elusive, hard to tackle, they are athletic guys. They just go about it in their own way. For a short guy such as myself trying to tackle Tom, I need a stepladder and an extension arm to get anywhere near him sometimes. When you have acceleration mixed with speed, power, athleticism and a fend, they are pretty good attributes to have in your full-back.
Wayne: Jake’s enthusiasm and love of rugby league is second to none. For a player who is only 23, his consistency levels are quite high across all levels.
Cooper: No matter what level you play rugby league at, the guys you want to play football with are the guys who do their job week in, week out because of consistency and a high level of performance allows you to go about your business and not worry about what other guys are doing. Having played with Jake on a limited number of occasions but from seeing him afar, he is one person you don’t have to worry about. Jake is going to give you an 8.5 out of 10 performance every week, whether it is representing your state, country, or even a pre-season game for Manly, as he is going to play with the same intensity, care and passion you would expect of all your good players. There is no doubt he is making the right noises at this stage of his career.
Wayne: Thanks for talking Manly and the Trbojevic brothers. Good luck at the World Cup.
Cooper: Thank you.