NSW back-rower Ryan Hoffman says it’s no surprise his Melbourne teammate Cooper Cronk has recovered from a broken arm to play in State of Origin III.
Ryan Hoffman claims it comes as no surprise to anyone associated with the Melbourne Storm that Cooper Cronk has made a miraculous recovery from a broken arm to play in State of Origin III.
The Maroons’ hopes of an unprecedented ninth series win against NSW went up in smoke when Cronk was helped off the field in Game I at Suncorp Stadium after 10 minutes with his side leading 4-0.
Daly Cherry-Evans, who’d never trained in the halfback role for Queensland, came off the bench and was thrust into the fray and struggled to make an impression as NSW shocked the Brisbane crowd by winning a thrilling game 12-8.
Cronk was forced to miss Game II in Sydney and the Blues went on to win 6-4 and finally wrap a series for the first time since 2005.
The 30-year-old was rated as ‘no chance’ of being fit for Game III by Storm coach Craig Bellamy last week, with the former NSW mentor saying he was willing to wager his house on the playmaker not taking his place in the team.
However, Blues back-rower Hoffman said having seen the lengths Cronk was going to in hid bid to recover, he had no doubts he’d play.
“It comes as a surprise to anyone who doesn’t play with him,” Hoffman told AAP.
“He is so diligent with his rehab, recovery and keeping his body right, week in, week out. I didn’t see him missing Origin.”
Hoffman acknowledged Cronk would almost certainly face the prospect of NSW players running at him to test out his arm but said he would be ready for it.
“It’s part of the game that you will test someone out if they are carrying an injury,” he said.
“It happens in the NRL and probably at all levels and I am sure it will happen in Origin.
“But Cooper is someone who is so diligent with how he prepares, he wouldn’t put himself in the position if he wasn’t right.
“I’ve seen him do a lot of passing and fair bit of contact work and I fully expect to see him running out next Wednesday.”