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Simmering Roosters-Storm rivalry set to come to boil

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Cooper Cronk hasn’t watched a replay of last year’s grand final.

"I haven’t watched any of the grand finals I’ve played in," the Roosters halfback says. "I don’t need to because I played in them." Fair point.

Strained relationship: Former teammates Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith collide in the 2018 grand final.Credit:AAP

Melbourne Storm players haven't been so lucky. One summer evening during a gruelling pre-season camp in Geelong, coach Craig Bellamy made them rake over the ashes of their 21-6 defeat.

The match was reviewed more than any of their grand final losses. It was an uncomfortable night.

There’s an argument that no side could’ve kept the Roosters quiet in the first 25 minutes of that match. They ambushed the Storm, belting them into submission.

Cronk and five-eighth Luke Keary received much of the credit for the grand final win. More discerning eyes saw prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves play the game of his life.

Bellamy had a different view of that opening 25 minutes: "Just because the Roosters were red hot didn’t mean we had to play so poorly."

It may have taken a while to get started but a genuine rivalry between the NRL’s two dominant clubs of the past decade has finally come to life.

Earlier this week, Keary compared the Storm to Spanish powerhouse Barcelona FC.

Down south, they laughed off the tag, believing it wasn’t genuine and part of the psychological warfare teams often like to play.

Some at the Storm counter-claimed that if they are Barcelona than surely the Roosters are Real Madrid, the richest football club in the world which signs whichever player it wants because money is never an issue.

In other words, it could sign Cooper Cronk.

The apparent strained relationship between Cronk and Storm captain Cameron........

© Brisbane Times