Trusting each other
We’re in a good place this season. We didn’t really have a pre-season last year and were a bit slow out of the blocks.
Coops was playing for Australia, Jake Friend had an injury, I broke my jaw and we didn’t really have time together. It was a new spine.
We got back together and although it was messy early on and we were losing some games, I still felt we were really strong through that time.
We stuck real solid together. We knew what we were doing. Cooper talked us through it. It didn’t feel frantic. We thought, ‘We have a process here. Keep going’.
I wasn’t at the Roosters when Sonny Bill Williams was at the club but I think Cooper Cronk’s had just as much influence. He’s an unbelievable person and an unbelievable footy player.
It came together at the end of the season. This time it was ‘Right, let’s have a pre-season together and try to go again’.
I feel like we’ve evolved and got better, which is what you want to do as a player and team – get better and hopefully it’s good enough at the end of the year.
I’m close friends with Latrell Mitchell and we’re building a strong connection. We trust each other on the field. I trust I know where he’s going to be.
I like to think I know what he’s thinking a lot of the time. That stuff is tough – trusting each other. All those little things people don’t see.
BATTLES IN YOUR HEAD
I know there has been a lot of chat about us as a team this season. I don’t read too much into it, but it’s always cool to hear it when it comes from people who are knowledgeable about the game.
I believe, to be put in the conversation about the best players in the game, you’ve got to constantly be great over a long period of time.
You’ve got guys like Cooper, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, who did it for 10 to 15 years. If you do that, you have a right to sit there and think, ‘Am I one of the best?’
Hearing it after two or three years – it’s good but it’s not what you want. The aim is to be at your best for a long period of time, getting better and better.
The game has already given me a lot of joy. I love the physical confrontation of it. I’m not a big dude and I love that someone my size can walk out there and mix it physically with blokes that are 120 kilograms.
I love the feeling after the game when you’re exhausted and you know inside yourself you’ve given everything you’ve got.
No one else can tell you if you’ve given everything, only you can know that. It’s an inner satisfaction and to be able to do that every week is really cool.
You go through battles throughout the year. Battles inside your own head. You might have some niggles. You might feel out of form. You might be sick. You go through challenges people don’t know about and you look yourself in the mirror and know if you stood up or if you shied away.
I LOVE THE PLACE
I feel like I’m a New South Welshman. I’ve been here since I was young. This is my home. I’ll probably live here for the rest of my life.
My best mates are here. My mum and dad and my brothers are here. My wife and her family are here. I’ve got everything I want here.
I love the place. It’s been nothing but good to me. This is my home. This is my state. I don’t really have much of a connection up in Queensland anymore and the time I spent in Blues camp last year just entrenched all that. It’s a special group.
When I was young I used to write down goals. I don’t do it anymore. It takes you away from the process if you think about the end game, rather than what you’re actually doing.
I don’t want or have goals. In the back of my head, I know where I’m going and where I want to go and what’s got to be done.
You tick that off every single day, every single week and every single month. Hopefully then you achieve the things you dream of.
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