first_imgCameron Smith concedes he was “caught off guard” and never expected Cooper Cronk to leave Melbourne, let alone make a multi-million dollar move to the Roosters that put the two powerhouses of the past decade on a grand final collision course. Were if not for Cronk’s own battle against a severe rotator cuff injury to take the paddock on Sunday, the showdown between the star No.7 and the Storm teammates he guided to seven deciders would be the talk of the town. That and the supposed cold war between he and Smith that gathered momentum with a seemingly frosty Adelaide Oval handshake the only time they have clashed since Cronk left Melbourne to live with partner Tara Rushton in Sydney. Smith remains bemused by the innuendo over the pair’s relationship, while both he and Cronk have denied a rift following the latter’s arrival at Moore Park. That decision instantly turned the Roosters into Melbourne’s biggest title threat.last_img