Cronk slams Brisbane as mediocre, snake pit
Cooper Cronk believes Brodie Croft is being strangled by the "snake pit" that is life at the Brisbane Broncos and has labelled the ultimatum given to coach Anthony Seibold by the club's board as "accepting mediocrity".
Brisbane's 48-0 loss to the Wests Tigers last Friday further compounded the demise of the Broncos and has led to suggestions Croft is not up to NRL standard.
But Cronk, who was teammates with the young playmaker at Melbourne, has jumped to his defence and believes the state of the Broncos isn't the right environment for a player like Croft to thrive in.
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"I think that's an over-reaction and an inflammatory comment to say he's not at NRL standard," Fox Sports analyst Cronk said on Cooper's View, with Hannah Hollis.
"I feel for him because he went from a Melbourne Storm system that cared for, looked after and protected their players and now he's gone to Brisbane, where a lot of people were saying he is the buy of the year after two rounds, to all of a sudden the snake pit of the Brisbane Broncos exposure and media attention that has come for him and targeted him."
The pressure Croft is under to guide the proud club out of this dark period was laid bare when the 23-year old was left inconsolable at fulltime after slumping to six straight losses against New Zealand in round eight.
Croft moved to Brisbane to be the side's first choice halfback after four season and 39 games at Melbourne.
But after 10 games in the No. 7 jumper and only three wins, there are calls to axe Croft and halves partner Anthony Milford from the side.
On Monday, Croft trained at five-eighth alongside side Tom Dearden at halfback with Milford at fullback in the first indication under pressure coach Seibold is preparing to make changes to his struggling outfit.
Croft's challenge of turning around his on-field form doesn't get any easier this weekend with the Broncos to take on his former side, the Storm.
Cronk warned Croft could be in for one of the toughest games of his career if he isn't ready to 'fight fire with fire' on Friday night.
"The thing going against him is the Melbourne Storm know his strengths and weaknesses so they are going to target that. He really need to comes out hot, ready to go and fight fire with fire not only for him to bounce back but also the Broncos," he said.
Seibold is only 35 games into his five-year deal as Broncos coach but his career at Red Hill looks very uncertain.
The board issued the under siege coach with an ultimatum to win at least five of remaining matches in 2020.
It's a decision four-time premiership winner Cronk has slammed as 'mediocre'.
"The ultimatum of having to win five doesn't sit well with me because it's accepting mediocrity. Why would you be a fan, member, player or sponsor of a team that says 'if we five of 10, which is 50 per cent of your games, why would you think that is successful? It's beyond me why you would want to be a part of that in any way shape or form," Cronk said.
With the no end in sight to the pain at Brisbane and Seibold desperately needing some wins, Cronk believes now is the time for the coach to make a 'statement' to his playing group even if it means axing skipper Darius Boyd.
"[He needs to] open up the floor and say who wants to have a jersey this week because you have to go out an play well and earn it," he said.
"Let's be on honest, I don't think the Broncos are going to win on the weekend but if they lose 20-10 or 18-6, that's a sign that they have fought for the jersey."
A 59-0 thrashing at the hands of the Sydney Roosters and the loss to the Tigers has led to Brisbane conceding 291 this season, the most of any side in the competition.
Cronk is expecting Craig Bellamy's men to add more damage to the Broncos' spreadsheet.
"Suncorp Stadium is not a scary place for the Storm to go to … the style they play, really fast up tempo put the Broncos on the back foot, if the Broncos aren't careful there could be another cricket score coming," Cronk said.
Originally published as Cronk slams Brisbane as mediocre, snake pit