Cooper Cronk: 'Emotion is a powerful thing, but too much of it can be dangerous.'

Cooper Cronk: 'Emotion is a powerful thing, but too much of it can be dangerous.' Photo: Getty Images

COOPER Cronk reckons grand final week is ''a lot of fun'', an atmosphere to be taken in and enjoyed. But he hasn't always looked on it that way.

It was not long ago that the Storm halfback was seen as the angry man of the club, an intense character whose life revolved around league.

But Cronk said yesterday he has changed and maturity, and experience, has brought a new way of looking at challenges and his life. The 28-year-old has also gone through a process of self-assessment, which led to him revealing his regret at having been a bully when he was younger.

Cronk - one of the Storm's superstar trio with Cameron Smith and Billy Slater - feels that the person he is now is better equipped to handle grand final week pressure than he was in the Storm's other grand final years from 2006 to 2009.

''I didn't wake up one morning and have a different outlook on life,'' Cronk said. ''With experience - obviously '06 was my first year as halfback and I was running around hoping to finish the year on top - you learn from your mistakes and I try not to make the same mistake twice, put it that way …

''I probably was wound up in the first couple [of grand finals]. It took me a couple to understand what was actually going on. When you say enjoy it, you do, you have to, because if you think otherwise it's a burden and to play in a grand final is not a burden, trust me.

''There's 14 other teams who want to be doing it. You can enjoy it as much as you like but come Sunday you need to be able to play football like you've been doing all year long.''

Storm winger Sisa Waqa said he will be fit for the grand final against Canterbury on Sunday, which, if correct, would leave Storm's first Victorian born-and-bred talent Mahe Fonua on the sidelines.

Waqa pulled out of the Storm's preliminary final win against Manly last Friday after jarring his knee at a training session during the week.

Waqa said his knee was feeling much improved after a weekend of treatment.

Fonua, who made his NRL debut in round 23 against Gold Coast and has played three more games, said he was grateful to be part of a grand final build-up. ''To be part of a grand final team and campaign, and for some of these boys it's the last game they'll put the Melbourne Storm jersey on - it will mean a lot," he said.

■ Greg Eastwood is using the bitter disappointment felt in Canterbury's 2009 preliminary final defeat to Parramatta as fuel heading into the grand final. He had that match in his mind as he powered to a man-of-the-match effort in the 32-8 preliminary final win over South Sydney.

''In 2009 losing the semi-final was disappointing and I wanted to make sure it didn't happen again. I felt I owed it to the club and the fans to go out there with a good performance,'' he said.

■ Storm will hold an open-to-the-public training session from 1pm at Gosch's Paddock today and leave for Sydney tomorrow afternoon.