RUGBY LEAGUE: Cooper Cronk's much-hyped maiden clash against his former Melbourne teammates Cameron Smith and Billy Slater will be played in neutral territory after the Sydney Roosters opted to shift the game to Adelaide.
After 14 seasons with the Storm Cronk recently signed a two-year deal with the Roosters and the NRL heavyweights will clash for the first time next season in round 16 - five days after Origin II in Sydney.
While switching the match to Adelaide will ensure a less intense atmosphere for Cronk's first showdown against his former teammates, Smith warned his long-time ally would not be afforded any special treatment when the two sides face off.
"No doubt it will be quite strange, for sure, but ... that 80 minutes will be business as usual,” Smith said.
"It's our job to go out and play professionally. I've got a lot of mates that I play against and the 80 minutes is about going out and doing the best for your team and then afterwards you're mates again.”
The Roosters took their 'home' game against the Storm to Adelaide Oval for the first time this year and are committed to playing a match annually in the AFL-obsessed city, although not necessarily against Melbourne.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson didn't address the Cronk factor in a statement when announcing the match location on Tuesday.
"We're excited to be returning to Adelaide Oval,” Robinson said.
"There was a great atmosphere at our game on the Oval in 2017, and the match definitely delivered in both quality and theatre, so we're looking forward to seeing that support continue to grow over the next few years.”
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