Cronk cited as Melbourne Storm upset Souths

JAMES MACSMITH
Last updated 00:15 26/05/2013
Cooper Cronk
Getty Images
UPLIFTING: Cooper Cronk (No 7) is on report for this tackle in the last round of the NRL.

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Cooper Cronk's State of Origin hopes are in doubt after he was placed on report for a lifting tackle in Melbourne's impressive 26-18 win over Sydney Roosters on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.

The Maroons halfback was placed on report for a 60th-minute dangerous throw on Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in an ugly looking tackle.

Depending on how the NRL match review committee grades the tackle, Cooper's chances of taking his place in the Queensland side for the Origin opener on June 5 could be under a cloud.

Cronk was suspended for two weeks in 2005 for a grade-two dangerous throw but since then has not had any problems with the judiciary.

Queensland captain Cameron Smith noted that Cronk's good judiciary record should count in his favour if he's charged.

Smith said it shouldn't rule Cooper out of Origin I as Queensland chase an unprecedented eighth straight series win.

"The rule is there that you can't go above the horizontal and that happened but he's a very clean player Cooper," Smith said.

"I haven't seen him on report at all in his career I don't think.

"He may get some points there, he may not."

Storm coach and former NSW mentor Craig Bellamy said he didn't think Cronk would be ruled out of Origin because of the tackle.

"You would like to think he's not going to miss an Origin for that," he said.

The incident was only of a number of talking points in the Storm's first win in a month.

The Storm led 12-0 after just 16 minutes on the back of tries to Justin O'Neill and Maurice Blair as the Roosters' much-vaunted defence was prised easily open.

But the Roosters fought their way back to 12-all four minutes before halftime after Luke O'Donnell crashed over from close range in the 26th minute and Michael Jennings pounced on a Sisa Waqa ball to stroll over for his eighth try of the year.

But much to the disgust of the crowd of 19,164, Billy Slater appeared to knock the ball on twice in the lead-up to Smith's 40th-minute try which put the visitors ahead 18-12 on the stroke of halftime.

In a tight contest after the break, the scoreline remained the same until Will Chambers beat some more flimsy Roosters defence to score out wide in the 62nd minute after Waqa had previously streaked upfield after saving a try with an intercept.

A 77th minute-penalty goal from Smith put the Storm ahead 24-12 before Tuivasa-Sheck scored from a lovely pass from James Maloney and the Roosters five-eighth converted to give the Roosters a chance to put the game into golden point.

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But an 80th-minute penalty goal put paid to those Roosters' hopes, with the win putting the premiers ahead of the Roosters on the NRL ladder.

Bellamy was pleased with his side's effort after their golden-point draw with Manly on Saturday night.

"I thought we showed some improvement against Manly and built on that tonight," he said.

"We're not back to where we exactly want to be but the effort was there tonight.

"To score 26 points was a good night for us."

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he felt referees Shayne Hayne and Ashley Klein had an off night but didn't blame the loss on that.

"I thought there were some hard calls but they didn't cost us the game," he said.

"Melbourne taught us a lesson tonight."

Melbourne Storm 26 (M Blair W Chambers J O'Neill C Smith tries C Smith 5 goals) Sydney Roosters 18 (M Jennings L O'Donnell R Tuivasa-Sheck tries J Maloney 3 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 19,164

- AAP

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