“He can hit me with a freight train and I’ll still get up, hopefully, and be able to play my role,” Cronk said on Monday.
“There are a few things going against me. He’s probably five foot taller than me, and another 40kg heavier. At the end of the day I do my job, he does his job, and I’ll never shirk my responsibility.
“It’s not my first rodeo. I know exactly what’s about to happen. But I love it. The chance to physically test myself and compete against the best is the reason I get out of bed in the morning.
“I’ve got full range. There’s no problem with it. [Players] have every right [to test it out], but I have every right to stand there and get back up and try to do the best I possibly can.
“It’s been part of rugby league for over 110 years, trying to target someone or someone who is injured.
“Be it Friday night or for the rest of the season, I won’t sit back and just get myself beaten up.
“For one, I can’t fight. But at least I can have a red-hot crack and do my absolute best and do my role for the team.”
Something out of Cronk’s control is the playing surface at the hallowed SCG, which came under fire for the way it crumbled during Saturday night’s Super Rugby clash between the Waratahs and Reds.
About 3000 square metres of new turf was frantically laid by the ground staff on Monday, with the areas of most concern in front of the Bill O’Reilly and Members stands.
The Roosters will get a good look of the ground on Thursday for their captain’s run, but Cronk said there was no cause for concern. He was hardly bothered when he watched the rugby live.
“The only issue that happened during the rugby game was a scrum, and let’s be honest, rugby league hasn’t had a fully contested scrum in over 20 years,” Cronk said.
“The general play during the game was completely fine.
“Unless our front-rowers and South Sydney want to start butting heads in the scrum, the surface will be fine.
“It is a decent deck. I’ve walked on it. Whether it’s three square metres [of new turf] or 3000, it’s the SCG, they have fully paid staff who know exactly what they’re doing and whose ground has thousands of tremendous sporting events over course of a long time.
“The Roosters and Rabbitohs will be another place in history, and they won’t be talking about the surface [afterwards], trust me.”
Cronk read about the Roosters’ history when he arrived at the club last year, and quickly appreciated the bitter rivalry with Souths.
“And the NRL cop a whack every now and then for some of their decisions, but you have to give them a pat on the back for putting Souths versus the Roosters at the SCG on a Friday night in round one. It’s a really good decision. Now it’s up to the players to go out there and do their bit,” Cronk said.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.