It’s a new era for the Kangaroos. (AAP Image/Darren England)
It’s a new era for the Kangaroos. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Cronk made Keary ice cold with malice

LUKE Keary has credited Cooper Cronk with helping develop an "ice cold" approach to his football.

Nine months ago it was a steely resolve the Sydney Roosters five-eighth said he did not possess. But Cronk's arrival at Bondi helped narrow his focus.

It was evident in the lead-up to the grand final where he boldly declared he "did not give a shit" if Cronk played. That mentality helped Keary lead the Roosters to a 21-6 win over Melbourne as he walked away with Clive Churchill honours.

He now wants to use that same approach ahead of his Test debut on Saturday.

"Nine months I couldn't get that job done," Keary said of his grand final performance. "I learnt a lot off Cooper. He doesn't let emotions affect him. That's how he got through the grand final. Whether he feels happy, sad, emotional he knows how to get it done.

"If you asked me what the biggest thing I've taken from him that would be it - how to deal with every kind of situation. High pressure, low pressure, people bagging you, people loving you. There is only way to get through it - that's turning off everything upstairs.


The Roosters have benefited — now Australia. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
The Roosters have benefited — now Australia. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

"It's a mentality. (Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater) have had it their whole career. They don't get carried away if they are going bad, good, playing Origin, Tests. They just have this steely focus they will get it done.

"Whether I feel happy - I am now - but it doesn't faze me. I know the only thing that matters is what happens after the game on Saturday.

"I don't think I was in the same mind frame or attitude (before this season). It's not a knock. It takes time.

"You want to be proud and you want to be thankful (about being selected for Australia) but I have a job to do. It's not about getting here. It's about what I do once I get here."

Keary now has the belief to take onto the international stage. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Keary now has the belief to take onto the international stage. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

That grand final performance helped book Keary a Test appearance that even he conceded was not on his radar at the start of the year. He managed to shut out the speculation regarding Cronk's injury and remarkably revealed he had barley spoken with his Roosters teammate in the lead-up to their match against Melbourne.

"I didn't speak to him at all until Saturday which was weird," Keary said. "Saturday morning he took us in and said he had these injections and he was a chance but he didn't know. I remember we were doing run-throughs up and down the corridor (during the grand final warm-up), I couldn't see him and I thought maybe he isn't playing.

"I did not know until I had a chat to him on the two minute bell and he told me what he could and couldn't do. He said I can 'pass kind of and I can kind of do some kicking but I'm not going to be able to really get hit'."

Keary is yet find the time to watch over his grand final heroics. No one celebrated the Roosters premiership win more than the 26-year-old but that changed when he was called to the Kangaroos squad as a late replacement for Cameron Munster.

He feared the worst when the name of Roosters football manager Lee Bennett flashed on his screen last Sunday.

"I was sitting on the lounge hungover watching the UFC," Keary said. "When Lee rang me - I had been out the day before- the first thing I said to him was 'what have I done?'.

"He gave me the news. I was so sick and hungover. I didn't want to pack my bags. It was an awesome week. I'm happy now I got to enjoy the week and then get onto this. I know if I had this in the back of my mind I would've only had a couple of nights and then prepared.

"If I knew I was coming here I would've pulled up four days earlier."