A curious exchange between former teammates Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith has sent social media into a spin, following the Storm’s thrilling win over the Roosters.
Melbourne skipper Smith booted a last-gasp field goal to sink Cronk’s Roosters in a memorable 9-8 win at Adelaide Oval.
Smith showed nerves of steel to kick the winner from 40m out on Friday night as his side provisionally moved into third on the NRL ladder.
Playing against his former side for the first time, Cronk had a chance to send the game into golden point in the dying seconds but had his field goal attempt charged down by Ryan Hoffman.
Hoffman twice smothered Cronk’s attempt at one point in a helter-skelter final five minutes that also had Cameron Munster twice miss shots at field goal.
But it was a frosty embrace between Cronk and Smith after the final whistle that left many fans questioning whether there had been a falling out between the once good mates.
Footage showed Cronk congratulating his former Storm teammates after the triumph.
The halfback gave each and every one of them a hug except Smith – with the Melbourne captain simply getting a quick handshake before Cronk walked away.
It didn’t go unnoticed on social media, with plenty of observers saying it confirmed rumours of a rift between the pair.
Did anyone else see Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk barely even shake hands? Maybe the rumours are true 😳 #NRLRoostersStorm
— Rugby League News (@RugbyLeagueNews) June 29, 2018
#NRLRoostersStorm cooper cronk gives all his old teammates a good hug until he reaches cameron smith and then just drops his smile into a serious face and just gives cam a light handshake and walks straight passed him… looked a bit personal to me.
— Jess (@Jess31729755) June 29, 2018
Yes! Thought the same thing. Looked very frosty.
— shake and bake (@piet_jason) June 29, 2018
Dylan Napa’s involvement in State of Origin III appears doubtful after the Queensland prop left the field with 10 minutes remaining with a suspected medial ligament strain.
After twisting his left knee in a Nelson Asofa-Solomona tackle, he went straight up the tunnel and is racing the clock 12 days out from the game three dead rubber.
The match was mostly a dour affair but a thrilling finish served the purpose of spreading the rugby league gospel in Australian rules heartland.
The Roosters were reduced to 12 men in the 50th minute when Victor Radley was sin-binned for a late high shot on Christian Welch.
The Storm finally took advantage when Asofa-Solomona crashed over off a Smith short ball for the first try of the game at the one-hour mark.
It also allowed Smith to pass 2300 career points, becoming just the second player in history to do so after Canterbury great Hazem El Masri.
Asofa-Solomona quickly went from hero to villain after spilling the ball from the kick-off, allowing debutant Matt Ikuvalu to score in the corner.
Latrell Mitchell converted from the sidelines to lock up the scores at eight-all with 16 on the clock but missed a penalty attempt from right in front just four minutes later.
Earlier, the two sides went into halftime locked at 2-2 after an opening 40 minutes marked by 15 penalties and some staunch defence from both sides.
At one point the Storm had six sets in a row on the Roosters’ line but were turned away with Luke Keary coming up with a desperate try-saver on Suliasi Vunivalu.
Mitchell had a chance to give his side a two-point lead but missed a penalty conversion on the stroke of halftime.
Storm and NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr injured his ankle after he was trodden on by Blues teammate Mitchell, however Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said he would be fine.